Functional changes in benthic macrofaunal communities along a natural gradient of hypoxia in an upwelling system

Melanie Bon, Jacques Grall, Joao B. Gusmao, Maritza Fajardo, Chris Harrod, Aldo S. Pacheco

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16 Scopus citations


Increasing global concern has been raised about the expansion of hypoxia in coastal waters and its potential to impact benthic ecosystems. Upwelling areas offer opportunities to study the effects of hypoxia on benthic communities under natural conditions. We used a biological trait-based approach and estimated functional diversity indices to assess macrobenthic community functioning along a depth gradient associated with naturally increasing hypoxia and concentrations of organic matter in the upwelling zone of northern Chile (South-East Pacific) over two years. Our results highlighted the increasing dominance of opportunistic biological traits associated with hypoxia and high organic matter content. Habitat filtering was the main process affecting the studied communities. Functional diversity patterns were persistent overtime despite the occurrence of a pulse of oxygenation. This study contributes to our understanding of how natural hypoxia impacts macrobenthic communities, providing useful information in the context of increasing eutrophication due to human influence on coastal areas.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112056
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
StatePublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd


  • Biological traits analysis
  • Environmental threshold
  • Functional diversity
  • Humboldt current system
  • Marine eutrophication
  • Temporal variation


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