In-situ studies on sublittoral soft bottom macrofauna (depth: 14-16 m) employing the underwater laboratory (UWL) Helgoland were carried out. Sets of samples were compared for small-scale local and short-term changes in species richness, faunal abundance, numerical dominance, diversity, evenness, homogeneity, and similarity. It could be shown that minor differences in sediment quality can cause conspicuous heterogeneity within a small sampling area (diameter = 100 m). Both spatfall and mortality of benthic invertebrates can change the faunal structure within a short period (two months). The degree of change varies between species and thus at stations harbouring different faunal assemblages as well.