Jackson Estuarine Laboratory

The interaction of tidal currents on a disturbed intertidal bottom with a resulting change in particulate matter quantity, texture and food quality


The purpose of this investigation was to determine if clam digging had an effect on the suspended sediment texture and composition in the intertidal zone. Surface sediment and suspended particulate samples were collected prior to and after bottom perturbation similar to clam digging. The results indicated that the dug bottom sediments became coarser and contained lower amounts of organic matter. The coarser texture was due to increased winnowing on the ‘rough’ bottom created in the digging process.

Suspended sediment concentrations also increased after perturbation, especially over finer-textured areas. The resuspended particulates were well sorted with relatively low organic content. Resuspended bottom sediments contributed virtually no protein to the particulates brought in by the estuarine waters. Recovery rate both of the bottom sediments and the suspended particulates was slow, and seemed dependent on the microtopographic relief which could take weeks to months to return to normal.

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Journal Title

Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science

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Copyright © 1986 Published by Elsevier Ltd.