The benthic infauna and benthic respiration off the Banc d’Arguin (Mauritania, Northwest Africa)

  • G. C. A. Duineveld
  • P. A. W. J. de Wilde
  • E. M. Berghuis
  • A. Kok
Conference paper
Part of the Developments in Hydrobiology 86 book series (DIHY, volume 86)


In May 1988, a study was made of the benthic community structure and benthic respiratory activity along two transects across the Mauritanian shelf off Banc d’Arguin. The main emphasis of the present paper is put on the macrobenthos, but results of a gross analysis of the meibenthos are discussed as well. Macrofaunal and meiofaunal density showed no consistent decrease with distance from the shore. The composition of the macrofauna taxa appeared to be closely correlated with sediment parameters and less so with depth. The highest macrofaunal biomass was found at the northern edge of the Banc d’Arguin, and the lowest biomass along the outer shelf. The biomass levels on the shelf match the ones reported for the northern Cap Blanc area where, in contrast to the seasonal upwelling in the investigated area, upwelling takes place all year round.

Benthic respiration rates on the offshore shelf were relatively high at the nearshore stations and low near the shelf break. Experimental evidence suggests that the low O2 levels in the upwelling water covering part of shelf, inhibited benthic respiration. The high respiratory activity at some northern inshore stations coincided with the presence of oxygen-rich coastal water. In this area benthic respiration surpassed the level previously reported for the enriched Cap Blanc area. On the basis of our respiration data, an estimate is made of the total carbon demand of the benthic community on the shelf in May and this quantity is compared with the measurements of daily primary production.

Key words

macrofauna meiofauna benthic respiration Mauritanian shelf 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. C. A. Duineveld
    • 1
  • P. A. W. J. de Wilde
    • 1
  • E. M. Berghuis
    • 1
  • A. Kok
    • 1
  1. 1.Netherlands Institute for Sea ResearchTexelThe Netherlands

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