Original paper

Temporal and spatial variation of an aquatic invertebrate community subjected to avian predation at the Odiel salt pans (SW Spain)

Sánchez, Marta I.; Green, Andy J.; Castellanos, Eloy M.


We studied the temporal variation in abundance and distribution of invertebrates in the water column in both traditional and industrial salt pans in the Odiel marshes, south-west Spain, in 2001. We selected 12 ponds that were representative of different salinities and stages of salt production. Every two months, invertebrates were sampled within the 0-20 cm depth range used by foraging waders. We identified 40 taxa, including 30 aquatic and eight terrestrial metazoan invertebrates. Aquatic invertebrate taxa richness and diversity decreased significantly with increasing pond salinity, whereas total biomass showed a non-significant increase. Overall, Artemia parthenogenetica constituted 67.6 % of invertebrates by number, and 95.5 % of the biomass. The copepod Cletocamptus retrogressus represented 31.1 % of invertebrates by number, and 0.6 % of the biomass. Invertebrate biomass and dominance of A. parthenogenetica was highest in September and lowest in November. There was significant spatial and temporal variation in abundance for all aquatic taxa, and for a given pond and month, the depth, distance to shoreline and fetch (wind effects) all had important partial effects on invertebrate distribution. Ordination methods showed a strong relationship between community structure and water chemistry (salinity, pH and redox potential), with the salinity gradient being the most important. There was a clear separation between low salinity ponds with fish and submerged macrophytes and other ponds. The more intensively managed industrial salines held lower densities and biomass of invertebrates than traditional salines, perhaps owing to greater protection from wind or greater inputs of detritus. The beetle Ochthebius corrugatus was abundant in the traditional ponds but absent from the industrial ones. The number of feeding waders using each pond was strongly correlated with the available biomass of invertebrates.


artemia parthenogeneticacletocamptus retrogressusdiversitysalt panssalinityshorebirdsspecies richnessodiel marsheswind