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Trophodynamic variations on microtidal North Mediterranean sandy beaches

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Author(s): Paolo Vassallo | Mauro Fabiano

Journal: Oceanologia
ISSN 0078-3234

Volume: 47;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 351;
Date: 2005;
Original page

Keywords: Beach environment | Trophodynamics | Swash zone

ABSTRACT
Trophic models of the micro and meiobenthic community of six sandy beaches on the Ligurian coast (north-western Mediterranean Sea) have been performed to assess variations in structure and function of the ecosystem. A novel approach based on the determination of the feeding predisposition of the benthic community revealed that there is a significant shift in the trophodynamics of the system with respect to environmental constraints. Along an emerged-submerged gradient the benthic community displayed a clear trend from a fundamentally detritus-dependent structure to an autotrophic, more balanced and diversified one. The trends analysed focus on the importance of the swash zone as a transitional area between the land and the sea that is characterised by a high diversity and activity of the trophic network.