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Water 2017, 9(5), 356; doi:10.3390/w9050356

The Use of Molluscan Fauna as Model Taxon for the Ecological Classification of River Estuaries

1
Department of Decision Science for a Sustainable Society, Kyushu University, 744, Motooka, Nishi-ku, Fukuoka 819-0395, Japan
2
Department of Urban and Environmental Engineering, Kyushu University, 744 Motooka, Nishi-ku, Fukuoka 819-0395, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Luc Lambs
Received: 21 March 2017 / Revised: 5 May 2017 / Accepted: 9 May 2017 / Published: 18 May 2017
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Abstract

River estuaries are important aquatic environments characterized by large environmental gradients in their water quality, riverbed material, and microtopography in the longitudinal and transverse directions. The geography or habitats in river estuaries differ depending on the energy from the tide, waves, and river; therefore, the biota inhabiting river estuaries vary depending on the river estuary type. In view of this, for effective conservation in river estuaries, there is a need for information about potential habitats and biota based on objective data about the river estuary type. The objective of this study thus was to classify river estuaries by their molluscan fauna and physical indicators to reveal the relationship between molluscan fauna and the physical environment. The classification results using physical indicators indicated three types of river estuaries (wave energy-dominated group, tide energy-dominated group, and low tide and wave energy group). This classification result was similar to the classification of molluscan fauna. Therefore, it was suggested that molluscan fauna is extremely useful as a variable representing the river estuary environment. From the comparison between molluscan fauna and the physical environment, some rivers were not classified into the same group in the classification of molluscan fauna, despite them having similar physical environments. Some of these rivers with a molluscan fauna that diverged from expectations had undergone channel modification, which is expected to have caused a shift in this fauna group. These results suggest that this approach could be used to identify rivers that have been degraded by human activities. View Full-Text
Keywords: river estuary; molluscan fauna; habitat; riverbed material; wave; tide; and river energy river estuary; molluscan fauna; habitat; riverbed material; wave; tide; and river energy
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Itsukushima, R.; Morita, K.; Shimatani, Y. The Use of Molluscan Fauna as Model Taxon for the Ecological Classification of River Estuaries. Water 2017, 9, 356.

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