Relationships between community structure of the intertidal macroinfauna and sandy beach characteristics along the chilean coast

E. Jaramillo, H. Contreras, C. Duarte, P. Quijon

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35 Citations (Scopus)


Eight sandy beaches were seasonally sampled along the coast of Chile, from ca. 21 to 42° S (about 3000 km) to study the relationship between community structure of the intertidal macroinfauna and beach characteristics. Sediment samples (0.1 m2, 30 cm deep) were collected (July - September 1998 and December 1998 - January 1999) with plastic cylinders at 15 equally spaced levels along three replicated transects extending from above the drift line to the swash zone. The sediment was sieved through a 1 mm mesh and the organisms collected stored in 5 % formalin. To define beach types, Dean's parameter (Ω) was calculated from wave heights and periods, and fall velocity of sand particles from the swash zone. Crustaceans (mainly peracarids) were the most diverse group with 14 species, followed by polychaetes with 5 species. The talitrid amphipod Orchestoidea tuberculata, the cirolanid isopods Excirolana braziliensis and E. hirsuticauda and the anomuran decapod Emerita analoga were the most widely distributed and common species. Regression analyses between species richness, abundance and biomass of the whole macroinfauna versus sediment characteristics, beach face slopes and morphodynamic beach states showed no significant relationships. Thus, macroinfaunal community characteristics did not increase linearly from lower intermediate to higher intermediate or dissipative beach states as had been found before in Chile or in other coasts. A comparative analysis with data from sandy beaches of other world regions showed that the number of species inhabiting Chilean sandy beaches was generally lower, whereas total population abundances were generally higher compared with values reported elsewhere.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-342
Number of pages20
JournalMarine Ecology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Beach types
  • Chile
  • Community structure
  • Intertidal
  • Macroinfauna
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Sandy beaches

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Aquatic Science


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