• Intertidal species;
  • macrofauna community;
  • morphodynamic state;
  • sandy beaches;
  • semiterrestrial species


It is known that the fauna of the exposed sandy beaches are primarily controlled by physical variables; but how these variables operate along and across the beach still remains fairly under discussion. In our study, we sampled a range of exposed sandy beaches along the Northwest coast of Spain to determine the relationship between the principal physical variables of the beaches (including beach morphodynamic state), and the macrofaunal community. The fauna of these beaches comprise truly marine species along the intertidal zone as well as semi-terrestrial species in the upper and supratidal environments. These two groups respond in a different manner to the physical environment. The first group is directly controlled by the morphodynamic state of the beach, and variations in the physical environment; the second group is not clearly affected by these physical conditions. In this case, other variables such as food availability and the human uses of the upper limits of the beach seem to be more relevant in explaining the patterns observed in the macrofaunal community.