Marine Biology

, Volume 55, Issue 1, pp 3–16 | Cite as

Macroinfaunal structure and effects of thermal discharges in a mesohaline habitat of Chesapeake Bay, near a Nuclear Power Plant

  • T-n. Loi
  • B. J. Wilson


The soft-bottom macroinfauna of the Chesapeake Bay near the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, Maryland, USA, was studied quarterly in 1977. A total of 42,900 organisms distributed among 55 taxa was taken in 180 Smith-McIntyre grabs. Two communities and an ecotone between these two communities were identified in association with three sediment types: sand, sand-clay, and clay. Reproductive activities of 8 numerically dominant species are described. The macroinfauna at Calvert Cliffs was largely seasonal; species richness and organism abundances were lowest in late summer. The polychaetes Scolecolepides viridis and Heteromastus filiformis and the bivalves Macoma balthica and Mya arenaria were dominant in March-June. In September-December, the polychaetes Neanthes succinea, Paraprionospio pinnata, and Glycinde solitaria and the bivalve Gemma gemma became dominant. There were clear indications of differences associated with sediment types in total number of species, total number of individuals, and abundances of the dominant species. The shallower and intermediate habitats had higher sand-clay ratios, lower organic carbon contents, and larger numbers of organisms than the deeper clay habitat. Within each depth, no apparent detrimental effects caused by the thermal discharges on total number of species, total number of individuals, abundances of the dominant species, species diversity or evenness were found. Increased abundance was observed at the discharge stations for a few species, especially for Mya arenaria and N. succinea.


Bivalve Dominant Species Nuclear Power Plant Polychaete Organic Carbon Content 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • T-n. Loi
    • 1
  • B. J. Wilson
    • 1
  1. 1.Academy of Natural Sciences of PhiladelphiaPhiladelphiaUSA

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