Temporal changes in benthic macrofauna on the west coast of Norway resulting from human activities.
Quantitative analyses of soft bottom invertebrate fauna from four Norwegian sill fjords show increased macrofaunal abundance, species richness, and a considerably changed benthic deep water macrofaunal composition in the inner parts of the fjord system. In retrospect, the analyses show significantly altered benthic macrofaunal community structure that was not reflected by the changes in the Shannon-Wiener diversity indices during regular monitoring. The observed changes are mainly due to an increased abundance of opportunistic species, especially of the polychaete Polydora sp. during the last 10-15 years which is correlated significantly to declining dissolved oxygen, rising temperature in the bottom water and increasing total organic matter in the sediment. Possible anthropogenic and climatic impact factors related to the observed macrofaunal changes and environmental consequences of the changes are discussed.