Benthic soft-bottom assemblages are good indicators of environmental disturbance, such as coastal aquaculture, considering their rapid response in terms of diversity and abundance. The aim of this study was to evaluate the response of peracarid assemblages to the release of waste from coastal farming as these organisms play an important ecological role. Abundance and species richness did not show significant differences between farm and control localities but did show a high spatial variability at the two studied scales. Non-metric multi- dimensional scaling (MDS) analysis showed a separation between farms and controls, indicating that peracarid assemblages are modified as a result of aquaculture activities, and some species such as Ampelisca spp. showed statistical differences. Peracarids, at both species and community level, may therefore be applied as helpful indicators to assess benthic effects of coastal farming.
Benthos, Aquaculture, Impact, Indicators, Management, Sustainability
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