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Human access impacts biodiversity of microscopic animals in sandy beaches

Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel

Whereas most work to understand impacts of humans on biodiversity on coastal areas has focused on large, conspicuous organisms, we highlight effects of tourist access on the diversity of microscopic marine animals (meiofauna). We used a DNA metabarcoding approach with an iterative and phylogeny-based approach for the taxonomic assignment of meiofauna and relate diversity patterns to the numbers of tourists accessing sandy beaches on an otherwise un-impacted island National Park. Tourist frequentation, independently of differences in sediment granulometry, beach length, and other potential confounding factors, affected meiofaunal diversity in the shallow "swash" zone right at the mean water mark; the impacts declined with water depth (up to 2 m). The indicated negative effect on meiofauna may have a consequence on all the biota including the higher trophic levels. Thus, we claim that it is important to consider restricting access to beaches in touristic areas, in order to preserve biodiversity.
Tijdschrift: COMMUNICATIONS BIOLOGY
ISSN: 2399-3642
Issue: 1
Volume: 3
Aantal pagina's: 9
Jaar van publicatie:2020
Trefwoorden:Marine Protected Areas