Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Sediment impacts on sponges and a deep-sea coral in New Zealand

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posted on 2021-11-29, 21:58 authored by Valeria Mobilia

Increased levels of suspended sediment in the water column are important factors contributing to the degradation of marine ecosystems worldwide. In coastal waters, temporal variation in suspended sediment concentrations (SSCs) occurs naturally due to seasonal and oceanographic processes. However, there is evidence that anthropogenic activities are increasing sediment concentrations. The volume of sediment moving from land-based sources into coastal ecosystems and human activities in the ocean disturbing the seafloor, such as dredging and bottom-contact fisheries, have been increasing over the last century. In addition, offshore activities, particularly bottom-contact fishing and potential deep-sea mining, can create sediment plumes in the deep-sea that may extend over long distances. Elevated suspended sediment concentrations have detrimental effects on benthic communities, particularly for suspension feeders like sponges and corals.

The aim of this thesis was to investigate the effects of increased SSCs that might arise from heavy anthropogenic disturbance on common shallow water and deep-sea sponges and a deep-sea coral in New Zealand, as these groups contribute to habitat structure in some benthic environments, including the deep sea.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Marine Biology

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Doctoral Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Biological Sciences


Bell, James; Cummings, Vonda; Tracey, Dianne; Clark, Malcolm