Can we infer dredge fishing effort from macrobenthic community structure?

M. B. Gaspar, S. Carvalho, R. Constantino, J. Tata-Regala, J. Cúrdia, C. C. Monteiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The effects of commercial fishing effort (FE) on macrobenthic community structure were analysed in geographically related fishing grounds separated into three groups: non-exploited (NE), moderately exploited (ME), and highly exploited (HE). Number of species, abundance, Margalef species richness, and Shannon-Wiener diversity were significantly higher in NE than in exploited areas. The first two were also significantly higher in HE than in ME areas. Measures of taxonomic diversity differed depending on whether annelids, molluscs, and crustaceans were combined or analysed separately. Crustaceans seemed to be the most vulnerable to bivalve dredging because significantly lower values were observed for them in the HE areas than in the ME and NE areas for this group. Although the samples were taken at the end of the closed season, macrobenthic communities still showed differences that may be related to FE, especially in trophic structure. Carnivory was particularly dominant in HE areas. The ratio of carnivory to filter-feeding was significantly correlated with FE, with higher values being observed in HE areas and lower values in NE areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2121-2132
Number of pages12
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Issue number10
StatePublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Bivalve dredging
  • Fishing impacts
  • Macrobenthic communities
  • Taxonomic distinctness
  • Trophic structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology


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