Keywords: dredging, mining activities, benthic communities, northern Chile, environmental impact
Effects of dredging on subtidal macrobenthic community structure in Mejillones Bay, Chile
The construction of Port Angamos terminal 1 in Mejillones Bay, Chile, required the dredging of 1,200,000 m³ of sediment from depths of 2?20 m. The effects of dredging on macrobenthic faunal communities are due to chemical (organic material) and physical (granulometric) alterations of the environment and are variable depending on the specific conditions of the intervened area. This study uses descriptive statistics to determine the impacts of dredging on benthic macrofaunal communities. Dredging caused alterations of the physical environment which were reflected in the benthic communities which showed reduced richness, abundance, biomass and diversity, as well as diminished community complexity, in the study sites closest to the port.