AWI North Sea benthos time series

Since 1969 the benthic infauna has been monitored on four Stations in the German Bight. The stations have been positioned in a way that all major sediment types of the German Bight are covered. Sampling is seasonal (spring, summer, autumn), however, not all seasons have been covered in each year when bad weather conditions prevented sampling. An analysis of the data showed that the structural composition of the benthic infauna communities in the German Bight is subject to substantial inter-annual fluctuations on a decadal scale. The variations correlate temporally with the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) Index indicating a link between the benthic community structure and climate. This is supported by the sensitivity of the benthic communities towards exceptionally severe winters. The changes of the community structures do not occur spontaneously but develop gradually over time scales of several years. Additionally, a sensitivity of the benthic communities towards eutrophication was inferred from an elevated mortality of benthic organisms caused by reduced oxygen concentrations due to the decomposition of organic matter from primary production.

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Data and Resources

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Additional Info

Field Value
Geographic coverage
Geographic description German Bight, North Sea
Bounding coordinates
North: 55.0
West: 6.5
East: 8.0831
South: 54.0167
Temporal coverage
Timestep 1969
Taxonomic coverage
species level marine benthic invertebrates
General taxonomic description marine benthic invertebrates, 334
Other info
Last Updated February 10, 2021, 14:20 (UTC)
Created February 10, 2021, 14:20 (UTC)

Responsible parties

Name Thomas Brey
Organization affiliations
Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research

Am Alten Hafen, 26
27568 Bremerhaven


Name Jennifer Dannheim
Organization affiliations
Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research

Associated party
Name Thomas Brey

Research data management planning

Data will be stored at (long-term archived) Information still missing

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