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Benthic Community Structure


Successful management of aquatic resources requires comprehensive maps that identify the spatial distribution and extent of potentially vulnerable habitats and their resident biota (e.g., essential fish habitat). We illustrate a technique that describes submerged landscapes not only in terms of geophysical properties, but also in terms of the resident biotic communities. Biological community distribution was highly correlated with the geophysical provinces initially identified by Bell et al. (2000). However, fewer groups of stations (created mainly by combining provinces) explained almost as much of the variation in benthic community structure and was a better description of the major biotopes in this stretch of the Hudson River Estuary. The findings of this pilot study can lead to sampling design criteria for the rest of the Hudson River Estuary.



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