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Title: The benthic ecology of Beaufort's dyke
Author: Callaway, Alexander David
ISNI:       0000 0004 2717 6647
Awarding Body: University of Ulster
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2011
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This work represents an holistic study of the benthic environment. This research comprises Quaternary, hydrodynamic modelling, contaminant particle transport simulation and species-centric predictive habitat mapping. Understanding the formation processes of a Quaternary feature and the potential for modification of the seabed by prevailing currents creates a basis for comprehensive ecological studies of the benthos. Subsequently, the method described in this study offers a new strategy for marine habitat mapping. The formation mechanism of Beaufort's Dyke explains the geomorphology and substrata type of the area which are important variables for faunal assemblages and detailed hydrodynamic information from simulations increases the strength of subsequent ecological investigation. Using simulation results, differences in epifaunal community structure and abundance between sample regions can be attributed to enhancement of colonisation by near- bed currents and life history response to hydrodynamics rather than substratum composition alone. Also, the potential for modification of bedforms by prevailing currents can be tested by comparing hydrodynamic and sedimentological data. An observed increase in the concentration of heavy metals within Beaufort's Dyke sediments may be the first evidence of the legacy of ordnance disposal around the Dyke. Further increase in contaminant levels within Beaufort's Dyke sediments will negatively impact resident fauna and the ecology of the region. Particle transport simulations demonstrate that dispersal of heavy metals from Beaufort's Dyke is possible and that disposed ordnance may also contribute to pollution of surrounding areas. Habitat conservation is often initiated because of resident fauna that are deemed vulnerable but these fauna are subsequently omitted in the map creation process. By utilising hydrodynamic, acoustic and faunal data to objectively determine assemblage relationships and combining faunal distribution data to produce species- centric habitat maps, management of vulnerable species can be based upon the target species, its associated community and habitat rather than abiotic surrogates.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available