Impact of hypoxia on the structure and function of benthic epifauna in Tolo Harbour, Hong Kong

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-229
Journal / PublicationMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number5-12
Publication statusPublished - 2011


In Tolo Harbour, Hong Kong, where hypoxia occurs periodically, a large amount of benthic epifauna was found to be absent in the summer but become abundant again in the winter. This observation may indicate that some species are sensitive in detecting low dissolved oxygen (DO) levels and are able to escape from the harbour to more oxygenated, open waters when conditions deteriorate and return when DO levels are improved. Analysis of biological traits of these animals showed that 58% of the categories showed significant differences between the community structure in summer and winter. The significant biological traits of the few species, which remained in the harbour under the summer's hypoxic conditions suggested adaptation rather than opportunism to the low DO levels. Our data also showed that trawling can increase DO at the bottom and may benefit the less sensitive species that remained in the habitat during the summer. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Research Area(s)

  • Benthic epifauna, Biological traits, Ecosystem functioning, Hypoxia