The dataset details macrofaunal biomass across 6 intertidal sites in the winter and summer of 2013. The data provide a quantitative measure of the biomass of individual invertebrate species present within the top 10cm of sediment. Three sites were located in Essex, South East England and the other 3 in Morecambe Bay, North West England. Each site consisted of a saltmarsh habitat and adjacent mudflat habitat. 22 sampling quadrats were placed in each habitat covering 4 spatial scales. 3 replicate cores of sediment were collected at each quadrat. They were sieved on a 0.5mm mesh and the macrofauna was removed, identified to species (or appropriate taxon) and individuals of each species weighed. Values for macrofaunal biomass are expressed as grams per square metre of sediment.
Biomass data for mudflat habitats across Essex and Morecambe are complete, however, saltmarsh data is only available for one full Essex site (Tillingham Marsh), in one season (winter) and across all sites, at the 1m scale.
This data was collected as part of Coastal Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service Sustainability (CBESS): NE/J015644/1. The project was funded with support from the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service Sustainability (BESS) programme. BESS is a six-year programme (2011-2017) funded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) as part of the UK's Living with Environmental Change (LWEC) programme.
Publication date: 2015-12-31
The location of the sample sites was determined by randomly allocated quadrats. Twenty two 1 x 1 m quadrats were randomly allocated to each mudflat and saltmarsh site using R (R Development Core Team, 2014) to specify four different spatial scales (A = 1 quadrat only, B = 3 quadrats at 1 m to 10 m apart, C = 6 quadrats at 10 m to 100 m apart, D = 12 quadrats at 100 m to 1000 m or site maximum).
3 cylindrical cores of sediment (10cm depth and diameter) were taken at each quadrat and fixed in 4 percent buffered formalin in seawater. The cores were then sieved on a 0.5mm mesh and the residue retained and preserved in 70 percent Industrial Methylated Spirit (IMS). Using a stereo microscope, all the animals were picked out of the residue, identified to species level (or appropriate taxon) and stored in vials containing 70 percent IMS. In cases where specimens had been damaged (any badly damaged specimens or parts of specimens where no head was present were separated into major group debris (annelid, mollusc and crustacea) pots. To obtain the biomass data, the individuals of each taxon (from one replicate) were blotted on tissue paper to remove any excess IMS. They were then weighed on a balance and the weight was recorded to 0.0001g. In situations where the animals were too light to register on the balance, a weight of 0.0001g was recorded. (The same method was used to obtain biomass values for major group debris.) The data were then multiplied by 127.323955 and rounded to 0.0001g to give results in metre squared.