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Changes in associated fauna on littoral commercial mussel plots in the Eastern Scheldt

Differences in community composition of different plot densities in mussel bottom culture

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Changes in associated fauna on littoral commercial mussel plots in the Eastern Scheldt

Differences in community composition of different plot densities in mussel bottom culture

Rechten: Alle rechten voorbehouden

Samenvatting

From previous research in the western Wadden Sea it is clear that mussel plots are important hotspots for biodiversity. When the density of a mussel plot is higher, the biodiversity appears to be higher as well. This final thesis project was a part of the bigger project, ‘Added value with Mussels’, executed by the Building with Nature research group at the HZ University of Applied Sciences, and focussed on getting more insight on the community composition in littoral commercial mussel bottom culture plots in the Eastern Scheldt with different densities. This water body is experiencing ‘sand hunger’ as an effect of the building of the storm surge barrier in 1986. Sand hunger is having a negative effect on the natural values of the water body as the existence of sandbanks is under threat and habitat loss is occurring. Previous research shows that mussel plots might be a solution to increase the natural values of an area. Within this final thesis the natural values in terms of the number of phyla and the community composition in the Eastern Scheldt were investigated in mussel plots. The field research was performed between November 2016 and March 2017 and the date did not show to be a variable to cause a significant difference in the number of phyla found. However, the density of the mussel plots showed to have a significant effect on the number of phyla found. The denser a mussel plot the bigger the certainty that the density is a factor of influence for the number of phyla found within the mussel plot. The reference plots in this research showed to be having a significantly lower number of phyla found than the density plots with mussels. Therefore, community composition is affected by density of a mussel plot and mussel beds increase the natural values in the Eastern Scheldt. After having performed this research it is recommended to extend the research by using more sample points per density, by performing the monitoring over a longer period of time and using more sample locations, all in order to get a better insight, with a more stable result, in the community composition throughout the whole waterbody.

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OrganisatieHZ University of Applied Sciences
OpleidingWatermanagement/ Aquatische Ecotechnologie
AfdelingDelta Academy
PartnersHZ University of Applied Sciences, Building with Nature research group, Vlissingen
Datum2017-06-27
TypeBachelor
TaalEngels

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