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Keywords:

  • Benthic community structure;
  • California submarine canyon and shelf

Abstract

Community structure of soft-bottom macrobenthos from Newport Submarine Canyon, California, was compared to that on the adjoining shelf. Four hypotheses involving sediment characteristics, community structure, benthic feeding types and seasonal population fluctuations were posed. Results indicated that there were statistically significant differences between the canyon and adjoining shelf. Although there were differences in sediment geochemistry between the canyon and shelf, sediment type played the major role influencing differences in community structure and feeding. Operation of a shelf outfall has not demonstrably changed the canyon soft-bottom macrobenthos for at least 16 years and probably closer to 27 years.