Alternate Title

Trophic Structure of Macrobenthic Communities in Northern Gulf of Mexico Estuaries

Document Type



Trophic structure of estuarine benthic communities in the northern Gulf of Mexico was characterized according to the functional roles and geographic distributions of the macrobenthos. Macrobenthic organisms collected during two years of study were assigned to trophic groups to assess the relative utilization of detritus and other resources. Three groups of detritivores (surface-deposit feeders, subsurface-deposit feeders, and filter feeders) were numerically dominant among the benthos, each of which accounted for 25-30% of total abundance across regions. Carnivorous macrobenthos also comprised an appreciable portion (12%), while omnivores (<3%) and other groups (<4%) were poorly represented. Dominance by detritivores is consistent with current concepts regarding the role of macrobenthos in processing detritus of Gulf of Mexico estuaries.

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