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Yellow Sea tidal flats are internationally recognised for their contribution to biological diversity and yet are under enormous pressure from reclamation, pollution and overexploitation. The benthic macroinfauna community is the dominant community on these tidal flats and a reliable indicator of benthic environmental changes. We surveyed the current benthic macroinfauna community of the Ganghwa Southern Tidal Flat, the largest remaining Korean mud flat in the Yellow Sea, in order to examine changes in the environmental situation of this benthic ecosystem. The results show a significant decline in species diversity from the last survey made in 2003, and a shift in species composition with appearances of polychaetes indicative of pollution and physical disturbances and other opportunistic species becoming dominant in both density and biomass. The benthic community shift observed during the two study periods may be associated with increased nutrient pollution as well as increased physical disturbances in this area. However, we recognise the limitations of the data both in frequency and scope but believe the significant changes to the composition of the benthic fauna are sufficient to warrant concern. Observations are required to examine the extent to which these human activities induce benthic community shift in this tidal flat.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-317
JournalJournal of Oceanography
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010
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