DV-06-005 Characterization of Meiofaunal Associations in Altered Maine Sandy Beaches

Stephen Fegley
Maine Maritime Academy

101 Andrews
Castine, ME 04420

Although sandy beaches in Maine are relatively scarce, they attract tourists and coastal development and generate substantial annual revenues. Unfortunately, beaches and their associated dune systems are fragile and, in many areas, have been reduced or lost through natural events and human activities. Beach nourishment, mining sand from offshore deposits and distributing it on the beach, has become a preferred restoration technique. Several studies have been conducted examining the effects of beach nourishment on invertebrates, fish, and birds, but little research has examined the effects on microscopic organisms, or meiofauna. Researchers will enumerate species of microscopic fauna in beaches that have and have not been nourished to determine potential effects of habitat alteration on community structure, and develop a visual key to meiofaunal species that could be used by other investigators.

1-year project: $4000