Impacts of earthquakes and tsunamis on marine benthic communities: A review

Juan A. Chunga-Llauce, Aldo S. Pacheco

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Marine communities are dynamic and spatially heterogeneous. Earthquakes and tsunamis modulate the structure of marine communities at short and long-term scales. The objective of this review was to evaluate how such disturbances impact the morphodynamics of coastal areas and the dynamics and structure of marine benthic communities from soft and hard bottoms from intertidal, subtidal and deep-sea habitats. The results reveal that earthquakes and tsunamis caused mortality of algae and bivalves by dissection after coastal uplift. Changes on the vertical distribution of nematodes and coral fragmentation were also recorded. Recovery of the marine communities to pre-disturbance state occurred by migration and recolonization of impacted habitats. The meiofaunal organisms recovered quickly, while some communities recovered after three years. Information pre-disturbance is often lacking or covers a short temporal extent. It is important to establish long-term monitoring programs in areas where the likelihood of impact of disturbance of such magnitude is high to understand how marine communities are shaped at geological scales.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105481
JournalMarine Environmental Research
StatePublished - Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd


  • Beaches
  • Chile
  • Coastal structures
  • Disturbance
  • Japan
  • Macrofauna
  • Recovery
  • Reefs
  • Sublittoral


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