Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Potential impacts of logging on intertidal infaunal communities within the Kitimat River Estuary.

Abstract

Efficiently evaluating industrial activities plays an essential role in determining the extent to which human-ecosystem interactions may lead to species loss, disrupted community dynamics, and degraded ecosystems. Intertidal habitats offer a unique opportunity in this regard, as they are species rich ecosystems that exhibit rapid community turnover and pronounced responses to ecological disturbances. In an attempt to use these dynamic communities to identify the impact storage of harvested logs is having on the Kitimat River estuary, surveys evaluating the biotic and abiotic conditions within surrounding mudflats were conducted. The intertidal mudflats of the Kitimat River Estuary varied spatially and temporally, and with differences in the infaunal community, as well as the abiotic sediment conditions between reference mudflats, and mudflats potentially impacted by logging activities. While these differences were pronounced, we cannot at this time link these differences to the logging activities at impacted sites. We also observed evidence that suggests that the infaunal community of these intertidal mudflats have changed substantially since the 1970s, with the establishment of a community of polychaetes, as well as the appearance of the invasive clam Mya arenaria, and the invasive Cumacea Nippoleucon hinumensis. Beyond contrasting impacted and reference mudflats, the current health of these mudflats, as indicated by the infaunal community assemblage, is currently unclear. More research is required to determine if organic enrichment has occurred at these habitats, as well as to further elucidate the current health of these intertidal mudflats.