Integration of community structure data reveals observable effects below sediment guideline thresholds in a large estuary

Louis A. Tremblay, Dana Clark, Jim Sinner, Joanne Ellis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The sustainable management of estuarine and coastal ecosystems requires robust frameworks due to the presence of multiple physical and chemical stressors. In this study, we assessed whether ecological health decline, based on community structure composition changes along a pollution gradient, occurred at levels below guideline threshold values for copper, zinc and lead. Canonical analysis of principal coordinates (CAP) was used to characterise benthic communities along a metal contamination gradient. The analysis revealed changes in benthic community distribution at levels below the individual guideline values for the three metals. These results suggest that field-based measures of ecological health analysed with multivariate tools can provide additional information to single metal guideline threshold values to monitor large systems exposed to multiple stressors.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1134-1141
Number of pages8
JournalEnviron. Sci.: Processes Impacts
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: This research was funded by a Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) grant (contract MAUX0907), led by Massey University, with co-funding from the Bay of Plenty Regional Council for data analysis and additional funding from the Cawthron Institute. We greatly appreciate the help we received from various parties while undertaking the ecological survey: the University of Waikato, the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Manaaki Te Awanui, Waka Digital, and many volunteers. We thank Gretchen Rasch (Cawthron Institute) for editorial comments.


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