Temporal changes in benthic communities of seagrass beds impacted by a tsunami in the Andaman Sea, Thailand

Napakhwan Whanpetch, Masahiro Nakaoka, Hiroshi Mukai, Takao Suzuki, Satoshi Nojima, Takashi Kawai, Chittima Aryuthaka

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    59 Citations (Scopus)


    Seagrass beds are susceptible to various natural and human-induced disturbances. Disturbances affect not only seagrasses, but also the abundance and diversity of associated macrofaunal communities. The Andaman Sea coast of Thailand was heavily affected by the tsunami of December 26, 2004. To examine its impact on seagrass macrofaunal communities, we compared the abundance, diversity and taxa composition by quantitative samplings in 2001 (before the tsunami) and in 2005 and 2006 (after the tsunami). Macrobenthic animals and sediments were collected from vegetated and nonvegetated areas of two sites that had received different levels of tsunami disturbances. A large decline in abundance and diversity was observed in the nonvegetated areas after the tsunami, whereas an increase was observed in the vegetated areas. The magnitude of decline and subsequent recovery of abundance and diversity of macrobenthic animals in nonvegetated areas were similar between the two sites, suggesting that their temporal changes were not solely related to the magnitude of the tsunami disturbance. Similarity of the benthic animals differed greatly between 2001 and 2005-2006 at the nonvegetated areas, whereas it varied less among the 3 years at the seagrass-vegetated areas. This study demonstrated that the presence of seagrass vegetation alters the patterns of temporal variation in macrofaunal assemblages and subsequent recovery processes following a tsunami.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)246-252
    Number of pages7
    JournalEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2010 Apr 10


    • abundance
    • macrobenthic animals
    • multivariate analysis
    • physical disturbance
    • temporal change

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Oceanography
    • Aquatic Science


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