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The benthic community was analyzed to evaluate pollution-induced changes for the polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)-contaminated site at Hunters Point (HP) relative to 30 reference sites in San Francisco Bay, California, USA. An analysis based on functional traits of feeding, reproduction, and position in the sediment shows that HP is depauperate in deposit feeders, subsurface carnivores, and species with no protective barrier. Sediment chemistry analysis shows that PCBs are the major risk drivers at HP (1,570 ppb) and that the reference sites contain very low levels of PCB contamination (9 ppb). Different feeding traits support the existence of direct pathways of exposure, which can be mechanistically linked to PCB...
Forecasting responses of benthic community structure and function to anthropogenic climate change is an emerging scientific challenge. Characterizing benthic species by biological attributes (traits) that are responsive to temperature and streamflow conditions can support a mechanistic approach for assessing the potential ecological responses to climate change. However, nonclimatic environmental factors also structure benthic communities and may mitigate transient climatic conditions, and these must be considered in evaluating potential impacts of climate change. Here we used macroinvertebrate and environmental data for 279 reference-quality sites spanning 12 states in the western US. For each sampling location,...
Data from quantitative samples of the benthos at a 200-m site in central Puget Sound, collected twice yearly in most years between 1963 and 1992, were evaluated to determine the extent to which species composition in a continental-shelf depth community exhibits long-term persistence. Study results showed that the most abundant species were consistently present over the 30-year period. However, measures of species composition (e.g., similarity, diversity) reveal a subtle, gradual change in the community over time. Among the changes are (1) multi-year periods of greatly increased abundance of the common species; (2) an overall increase in the total abundance of the benthic community beginning in the mid-1970s; (3)...