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Benthic Invertebrate Monitoring at St. Joseph Bay Aquatic Preserve Quick Topics

Management activities at St. Joseph Bay Aquatic Preserve have been discontinued as of July 1, 2011. This page describes one of the ecosystem science programs which is planned should revenue streams improve.

Benthic invertebrates are reliable indicators of habitat quality in an aquatic environment. These species live in bottom sediments where exposure to contaminants and oxygen stress are most frequent. They also indicate local conditions because they have limited mobility and cannot migrate to avoid stressful situations. Benthic invertebrates are ecologically important in serving as food for bottom-feeding fish and affecting nutrient recycling. The biomass of benthic invertebrates in coastal embayments is often high and will decline if communities are affected by poor water quality. There is a need to research and monitor these communities within St. Joseph Bay for the purpose of creating a baseline inventory of the species present and how they relate to the bay’s water quality and the functioning of the bay system.

More information on the Benthic Invertebrate Monitoring Program at St. Joseph Bay Aquatic Preserve is available in the St. Joseph Bay Aquatic Preserve Management Plan.

Sponges and mollusks

Sponges and mollusks

Last updated: December 13, 2012

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