Journal Article

Seasonal variability of epibenthic communities in different areas of the southern North Sea

Henning Reiss and Ingrid Kröncke

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 61, issue 6, pages 882-905
Published in print January 2004 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2004 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI:
Seasonal variability of epibenthic communities in different areas of the southern North Sea

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  • Environmental Science
  • Marine and Estuarine Biology


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Between November 2000 and May 2002, epibenthos was sampled monthly with a 2-m beam trawl at three stations along a transect from the southern German Bight towards the northeastern part of the Dogger Bank (North Sea) in order to investigate the seasonal variability of the epibenthic communities. The stations were chosen to reflect a gradient in the hydrigraphic regime, organic matter supply, and fishing effort. The epibenthic community of the southern German Bight was characterized by high biomass and abundance, dominated by Asterias rubens and Ophiura albida. In contrast, at the northern stations in the Oyster Ground and at the Dogger Bank, epibenthic biomass and abundance were substantially lower and the dominant species were mainly crustaceans such as Corystes cassivelaunus, Liocarcinus holsatus, and Pagurus bernhardus. In terms of seasonal variability, mean abundance and biomass in the southern German Bight showed highest values in the summer months and lowest values in the winter months. A similar pattern, but less distinct, was observed in the Oyster Ground. But at the Dogger Bank the pattern was different, with highest abundance and biomass values in the winter months. The differences in spatial and temporal patterns are discussed in relation to differences in temperature, thermal stratification and fishing effort at the three study sites.

Keywords: Dogger Bank; epibenthos; fishing effort; German Bight; migration; Oyster Ground; temporal variability

Journal Article.  8458 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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