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The brackish water environment of the Baltic Sea is dominated by a strong gradient of salinity and along with salinity the benthic diversity decreases – salinity is regarded as the master factor regulating benthic diversity in brackish habitats. In this scheme, consistently small patches of comparatively higher or lower benthic diversity do emerge in areas where either environmental or anthropogenic impacts on the benthic habitat change drastically over short spatial distances. Hence, spatial diversity of ecological factors creates diversity among benthic colonization and community structures. We show through a logistic modeling approach the possibility to predict thereby induced benthic colonization areas and community structures inside the broad scheme of a brackish water habitat. This study bases upon quantitative macrozoobenthic abundance data collected over a period of 4 years. It clearly demonstrates the need to analyze species’ relationships in gradient systems such as the Baltic Sea and provides a tool to predict natural and anthropogenic forced changes in species distribution.
Key words: Baltic Sea, Pomeranian Bay, macrozoobenthos, ecological modeling, environmental factors, multivariate analysis, species’ response curves