Fishing effects in northeast Atlantic shelf seas: Patterns in fishing effort, diversity and community structure VII. The effects of trawling disturbance on the fauna associated with the tubeheads of serpulid worms

M. J. Kaiser, K. Cheney, Fiona E. Spence, D. B. Edwards, K. Radford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We report the effects of beam trawling on the diverse fauna associated with tubeheads formed by serpulid worms. Despite an experimental regime of biannual fishing, no changes in the number or size of serpulid tubeheads was apparent throughout the course of the study, and no significant changes were detectable in the composition of the tubehead fauna that could be attributed to fishing disturbance. A laboratory study revealed that tubeheads were unlikely to resettle on the seabed in an orientation similar to that prior to disturbance. Serpulids are known to be opportunistic species and may rapidly recolonise disturbed areas, such that we were unable to detect these changes within our sampling regime. Serpulid tubeheads provide an important microhabitat, a total of 73 taxa (50 species) being associated with them. Other similar studies indicate that these associated organisms are important food for small fish. In addition to increasing benthic biodiversity, they provide a potentially important habitat for juvenile commercial species, providing shelter and food.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-205
Number of pages11
JournalFisheries Research
Volume40
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 1999

Keywords

  • Biodiversity
  • Biogenic structure
  • Bottom trawling
  • Physical disturbance
  • Serpulid tubeheads

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science

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