eesti teaduste
akadeemia kirjastus
Estonian Journal of Ecology

Spatial distribution of marine benthic habitats in the Estonian coastal sea, northeastern Baltic Sea; pp. 165–191

Full article in PDF format | doi: 10.3176/eco.2013.3.01

Georg Martin, Jonne Kotta, Tiia Möller, Kristjan Herkül


In this study six pilot marine areas were mapped in the Estonian coastal sea with the aim of assessing the spatial distribution of shallow-water benthic habitats and analysing how different these habitats are in terms of species composition and dominance structure of macrophytes and benthic invertebrates. Moderately exposed soft-bottom habitats prevailed in the study areas whereas sheltered hard-bottom habitats were the rarest. Habitats that included no habitat-forming species tended to be less diverse compared to those having any of such characteristic species. There were few species that were found in one habitat only. Although the physical environments of the habitats were not necessarily different, the majority of habitats were statistically different either in terms of species composition or dominance structure of benthic macrophyte and invertebrate species. This allows us to conclude that the studied habitats are ‘real’, i.e. the supported communities are most likely not found under similar abiotic environmental conditions without the habitat-forming species.


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