Ecological quality status of stressed coastal benthic ecosystems in Nayband Bay from the northern Persian Gulf, Iran using AMBI, M-AMBI, Bentix, and H´ indices


  • Ali Ghanavati Asl Department of Environment, Ahvaz branch, Islamic Azad University, Ahvaz, Iran
  • Seyed Mohammad Bagher Nabavi Department of Environment, Ahvaz branch, Islamic Azad University, Ahvaz, Iran
  • Maryam Mohammadi Rouzbahani Department of environment, Ahvaz branch, Islamic Azad University, Ahvaz, Iran
  • Sima Sabz Alipour Department of Environment, Ahvaz branch, Islamic Azad University, Ahvaz, Iran
  • Seyed Masood Monavari Department of Environment, Ahvaz branch, Islamic Azad University, Ahvaz, Iran



Biotic indices, ecological quality status, Macrofauna, Nayband Bay, Persian Gulf


Nayband Bay has been greatly influenced by a variety of human disturbances over the last three decades. The present study was undertaken to assess the ecological quality status of macrobenthic communities in Nayband Bay sediments using four benthic indices namely AMBI, M-AMBI, BENTIX, and H´. The sediment samples were taken for macrobenthos extractions and determination of grain size analysis, Total Organic Matter (TOM), and Total Organic Carbon (TOC) using a Van Veen grab. A total of 47 macrobenthos taxa (genus and species) were identified among 34825 individuals in the sampling area. Polychaeta, Malacostraca, Bivalve, Gastropoda and Echiura were the most abundance taxon with 23 (48.9%), 11 (23.4%), 6 (12.7%), 5 (10.6%), and 2 (4.2%) species. The results showed that the macrobenthic communities were characterized by sensitive (EGI) or indifferent (EGII) species of AMBI ecological groups. The opportunistic species (EGIV and V) namely Capitella capitata, Cirratulus ciratus, and Scolelepis sp. were dominated at stations with high TOC. These stations were close to the beach, where the organic matter discharges and wastewaters have been released from industrial outfalls. In general, the EcoQs were “good” or “acceptable”, although four indices showed some differences in the EcoQs classifications for a given site. The results of the present study indicate that the complementary use of different indices, especially sensitivity/tolerance-based indices, is recommended for the ecological-status assessment of the Iranian coastal waters of the Persian Gulf.


Baniemam, M., Moradi, A. M., Bakhtiari, A. R., Fatemi, M. R., & Khanghah, K. E. (2017). Seasonal variation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the surface sediments of the southern Caspian Sea. Marine pollution bulletin, 117(1-2), 478-485.

Borja, A., Franco, J., & Pérez, V. (2000). A marine biotic index to establish the ecological quality of soft-bottom benthos within European estuarine and coastal environments. Marine pollution bulletin, 40(12), 1100-1114.

Borja, Á., Franco, J., Valencia, V., Bald, J., Muxika, I., Belzunce, M. a. J., & Solaun, O. (2004). Implementation of the European water framework directive from the Basque country (northern Spain): a methodological approach. Marine pollution bulletin, 48(3-4), 209-218.

Borja, A., & Tunberg, B. (2011). Assessing benthic health in stressed subtropical estuaries, eastern Florida, USA using AMBI and M-AMBI. Ecological indicators, 11(2), 295-303.

Boström, C., & Bonsdorff, E. (1997). Community structure and spatial variation of benthic invertebrates associated with Zostera marina (L.) beds in the northern Baltic Sea. Journal of Sea Research, 37(1-2), 153-166.

Buchanan, J. (1984). Sediment Analysis In: Methods for the Study of Marine Benthos. Holme and McIntyre (eds). Blackwell Scientific Publication- Oxford. pp. 41-65.

Bustos-Baez, S., & Frid, C. (2003). Using indicator species to assess the state of macrobenthic communities Advances in Polychaete Research (pp. 299-309): Springer.

Dauer, D. M., Ranasinghe, J. A., & Weisberg, S. B. (2000). Relationships between benthic community condition, water quality, sediment quality, nutrient loads, and land use patterns in Chesapeake Bay. Estuaries, 23(1), 80-96.

Davoodi, H., Gharibreza, M., Negarestan, H., Mortazavi, M. S., & Lak, R. (2017). Ecological risk assessment of the Assaluyeh and Bassatin estuaries (northern Persian Gulf) using sediment quality indices. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 192, 17-28.

Dong, J.-Y., Sun, X., Zhang, Y., Zhan, Q., & Zhang, X. (2021). Assessing benthic habitat ecological quality using four benthic indices in the coastal waters of Sanshandao, Laizhou Bay, China. Ecological indicators, 129, 107980.

Dong, J.-Y., Zhao, L., Sun, X., Hu, C., Wang, Y., Li, W.-T., . . . Zhang, X. (2021). Response of macrobenthic communities to heavy metal pollution in Laoshan Bay, China: A trait-based method. Marine pollution bulletin, 167, 112292.

Eaton, L. (2001). Development and validation of biocriteria using benthic macroinvertebrates for North Carolina estuarine waters. Marine pollution bulletin, 42(1), 23-30.

Fonseca, M. S., & Fisher, J. S. (1986). A comparison of canopy friction and sediment movement between four species of seagrass with reference to their ecology and restoration. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 29(1), 5-22.

Gamito, S., & Furtado, R. (2009). Feeding diversity in macroinvertebrate communities: A contribution to estimate the ecological status in shallow waters. Ecological indicators, 9(5), 1009-1019.

Ghanavati Asl, A., Nabavi, S. M. B., Rouzbahani, M. M., Alipour, S. S., & Monavari, S. M. (2022). Evaluation of metals contamination using ecological quality indices in the Nayband bay (Northern Persian Gulf, Iran): as one of the biggest petrochemical regions in the world. Regional Studies in Marine Science, 102397.

Grall, J., & Glémarec, M. (1997). Using biotic indices to estimate macrobenthic community perturbations in the Bay of Brest. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 44, 43-53.

Hajializadeh, P., Safaie, M., Naderloo, R., Shojaei, M. G., Gammal, J., Villnäs, A., & Norkko, A. (2020). Species composition and functional traits of macrofauna in different mangrove habitats in the Persian Gulf. Frontiers in Marine Science, 809.

Henseler, C., Nordström, M. C., Törnroos, A., Snickars, M., Pecuchet, L., Lindegren, M., & Bonsdorff, E. (2019). Coastal habitats and their importance for the diversity of benthic communities: a species-and trait-based approach. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 226, 106272.

Hewitt, J., Thrush, S., & Dayton, P. (2008). Habitat variation, species diversity and ecological functioning in a marine system. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 366(1-2), 116-122.

Holme, N., & McIntyre, A. (1984). Methods for the study of marine benthos. IBP Hand Book, 16, 41-65.

Jenks, G. F. (1967). The data model concept in statistical mapping. International yearbook of cartography, 7, 186-190.

Kosari, S., Mousavi Nadushan, R., Faremi, R., Ejlali Khanghah, K., & Mashinchian, A. (2021). Macrobenthos as bioindicator of ecological status in the Yekshabe creek-estuary, Persian Gulf. Iranian Journal of Fisheries Sciences, 20(2).

Lam-Gordillo, O., Baring, R., & Dittmann, S. (2020). Ecosystem functioning and functional approaches on marine macrobenthic fauna: A research synthesis towards a global consensus. Ecological indicators, 115, 106379.

Li, B., Wang, Q., & Li, B. (2013). Assessing the benthic ecological status in the stressed coastal waters of Yantai, Yellow Sea, using AMBI and M-AMBI. Marine pollution bulletin, 75(1-2), 53-61.

Lu, X., Xu, J., Xu, Z., & Liu, X. (2021). Assessment of Benthic Ecological Quality Status Using Multi-Biotic Indices Based on Macrofaunal Assemblages in a Semi-Enclosed Bay. Frontiers in Marine Science.

Maghsoudlou, A., Momtazi, F., & Hashtroudi, M. S. (2020). Ecological Quality Status (EcoQs) of Chabahar sub-tropical bay based on multimetric macrobenthos-indexes approach: Response of bio-indexes to sediment structural/pollutant variables. Regional Studies in Marine Science, 40, 101524.

Muniz, P., Venturini, N., Pires-Vanin, A. M., Tommasi, L. R., & Borja, Á. (2005). Testing the applicability of a Marine Biotic Index (AMBI) to assessing the ecological quality of soft-bottom benthic communities, in the South America Atlantic region. Marine pollution bulletin, 50(6), 624-637.

Muxika, I., Borja, A., & Bald, J. (2007). Using historical data, expert judgement and multivariate analysis in assessing reference conditions and benthic ecological status, according to the European Water Framework Directive. Marine pollution bulletin, 55(1-6), 16-29.

Muxika, I., Borja, A., & Bonne, W. (2005). The suitability of the marine biotic index (AMBI) to new impact sources along European coasts. Ecological indicators, 5(1), 19-31.

Oksanen, J., Blanchet, F. G., Friendly, M., Kindt, R., Legendre, P., McGlinn, D., . . . Solymos, P. (2019). Vegan: community ecology package (version 2.5-6). The Comprehensive R Archive Network.

Oleszczuk, B., Grzelak, K., & Kędra, M. (2021). Community structure and productivity of Arctic benthic fauna across depth gradients during springtime. Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, 170, 103457.

PSEEZ. (2016). Gaz Field. Retrived Feb 7, 2016, from.

Rahimi Moazampour, S., Nabavi, S. M. B., Mohammadi Roozbahani, M., & Khodadadi, M. (2021). Determination of total petroleum hydrocarbons and selected heavy metal (Pb, CO, V, Ni) concentration levels in surficial sediments of the Arvand River Estuary and their impact on benthic macroinvertebrates assemblages. International Journal of Environmental Analytical Chemistry, 1-17.

Roozbahani, M. M., Nabavi, S. M. B., Farshchi, P., & Rasekh, A. (2010). Studies on the benthic macroinvertebrates diversity species as bio-indicators of environmental health in Bahrekan Bay (Northwest of Persian Gulf). African Journal of Biotechnology, 9(51), 8763-8771.

Simboura, N., & Zenetos, A. (2002). Benthic indicators to use in ecological quality classification of Mediterranean soft bottom marine ecosystems, including a new biotic index. Mediterranean Marine Science, 3(2), 77-111.

Simonini, R., Grandi, V., Massamba‐N’Siala, G., Iotti, M., Montanari, G., & Prevedelli, D. (2009). Assessing the ecological status of the North‐western Adriatic Sea within the European Water Framework Directive: a comparison of Bentix, AMBI and M‐AMBI methods. Marine Ecology, 30(2), 241-254.

Sivaraj, S., Murugesan, P., Muthuvelu, S., Vivekanandan, K., & Vijayalakshmi, S. (2014). AMBI and M-AMBI indices as a robust tool for assessing the effluent stressed ecosystem in Nandgaon Coastal waters, Maharashtra, India. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 146, 60-67.

Toussaint, E., De Borger, E., Braeckman, U., De Backer, A., Soetaert, K., & Vanaverbeke, J. (2021). Faunal and environmental drivers of carbon and nitrogen cycling along a permeability gradient in shallow North Sea sediments. Science of the Total Environment, 767, 144994.

Wang, Z., Liu, Z., Xu, K., Mayer, L. M., Zhang, Z., Kolker, A. S., & Wu, W. (2014). Concentrations and sources of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in surface coastal sediments of the northern Gulf of Mexico. Geochemical transactions, 15(1), 1-12.




How to Cite

Ghanavati Asl, A. ., Bagher Nabavi, S. M. ., Mohammadi Rouzbahani, M., Sabz Alipour, S. ., & Masood Monavari, S. . (2022). Ecological quality status of stressed coastal benthic ecosystems in Nayband Bay from the northern Persian Gulf, Iran using AMBI, M-AMBI, Bentix, and H´ indices. Journal of Wildlife and Biodiversity, 8(1), 279–297.