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Regional estuary monitoring programme: Benthic macrofauna communities, April 2001 to April 2002: Southern Firth of Thames and Whaingaroa (Raglan) Harbour


Report: TR 2004/08
Author: Stephanie Turner, Nick Carter


In April 2001 Environment Waikato initiated the Regional Estuary Monitoring Programme at five permanent monitoring sites in both the southern Firth of Thames and Whaingaroa (Raglan) Harbour. It is a long-term programme with the objective of monitoring the temporal changes in intertidal sediment characteristics and benthic macrofauna communities which may occur as a direct or indirect consequence of catchment activity and/or estuary development. This report presents the results of monitoring a suite of 26 'indicator' species/taxa characteristic of the intertidal benthic communities. It is envisaged that the Regional Estuary Monitoring Programme will provide relevant information useful in setting policy and assisting with the sustainable management of estuaries in the Waikato Region.


Regional Estuary Monitoring Programme: Benthic Macrofauna Communities, April 2001 to April 2002: Southern Firth of Thames and Whaingaroa (Raglan) Harbour
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements i
Executive Summary vii
1. Introduction 1
2. Methods 2
2.1 Field Sites 2
2.2 Sampling Regime 3
2.3 Sample Collection and Processing 3
2.3.1 Benthic Macrofauna 3
2.3.2 Sediment Characteristics 4 Surficial Sediment Grain-Size 4 Sediment Organic Matter Content 4 Sediment Photosynthetic Pigment Concentration 4
2.4 Statistical Analysis 4
3Results  6
3.1 Benthic Macrofauna Community Structure 6
3.1.1 Southern Firth of Thames 6
3.1.2 Whaingaroa (Raglan) Harbour 7
3.2 Changes in the Abundance of Individual Species and Taxonomic groups 9
3.2.1 Southern Firth of Thames 9
3.2.2 Whaingaroa (Raglan) Harbour 12
3.3 Changes in the Composition of Indicator Species/Taxa Assemblages 17
3.3.1 Southern Firth of Thames 17
3.3.2 Whaingaroa (Raglan) Harbour 24
3.4 Sediment Characteristics 30
3.4.1 Surficial Sediment Grain-Size and Shell-hash 30 Southern Firth of Thames 30 Whaingaroa (Raglan) Harbour 31
3.4.2 Sediment Organic Matter Content 31 Southern Firth of Thames 31 Whaingaroa (Raglan) Harbour 32
3.4.3 Sediment Photosynthetic Pigment Concentration 32 Southern Firth of Thames 32 Whaingaroa (Raglan) Harbour 32
3.5 Linking Assemblage Composition to Sediment Characteristics 35
3.5.1 Southern Firth of Thames 35
3.5.2 Whaingaroa (Raglan) Harbour 35
4Discussion  35
5Recommendations  36
6Literature Cited  39
Appendix 1 - Southern Firth of Thames species/taxonomic group abundances 41
Appendix 2 - Whaingaroa Harbour species/taxonomic group abundances 60
Appendix 3 - Dry weight of shell-hash 78
Appendix 4 – Sediment organic matter content 83
Appendix 5 - Sediment photosynthetic pigment concentration 85
Appendix 6 – QA/QC procedures 87
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