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Biological vs. physical mixing effects on benthic food web dynamics

(2011) PLOS ONE. 6(3).
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Westbanks
Abstract
Biological particle mixing (bioturbation) and solute transfer (bio-irrigation) contribute extensively to ecosystem functioning in sediments where physical mixing is low. Macrobenthos transports oxygen and organic matter deeper into the sediment, thereby likely providing favourable niches to lower trophic levels (i.e., smaller benthic animals such as meiofauna and bacteria) and thus stimulating mineralisation. Whether this biological transport facilitates fresh organic matter assimilation by the metazoan lower part of the food web through niche establishment (i.e., ecosystem engineering) or rather deprives them from food sources, is so far unclear. We investigated the effects of the ecosystem engineers Lanice conchilega (bio-irrigator) and Abra alba (bioturbator) compared to abiotic physical mixing events on survival and food uptake of nematodes after a simulated phytoplankton bloom. The C-13 labelled diatom Skeletonema costatum was added to 4 treatments: (1) microcosms containing the bioturbator, (2) microcosms containing the bio-irrigator, (3) control microcosms and (4) microcosms with abiotic manual surface mixing. Nematode survival and subsurface peaks in nematode density profiles were most pronounced in the bio-irrigator treatment. However, nematode specific uptake (Delta delta C-13) of the added diatoms was highest in the physical mixing treatment, where macrobenthos was absent and the diatom C-13 was homogenised. Overall, nematodes fed preferentially on bulk sedimentary organic material rather than the added diatoms. The total C budget (mu g C m(-2)), which included (TOC)-C-13 remaining in the sediment, respiration, nematode and macrobenthic uptake, highlighted the limited assimilation by the metazoan benthos and the major role of bacterial respiration. In summary, bioturbation and especially bio-irrigation facilitated the lower trophic levels mainly over the long-term through niche establishment. Since the freshly added diatoms represented only a limited food source for nematodes, the macrobenthic effect was more pronounced in niche establishment than the negative structuring effects such as competition.
Keywords
Bioturbation, nematodes, bio-irrigation, phytoplankton, bloom, stable isotopes, DEEP-SEA NEMATODES, ISOTOPE TRACER EXPERIMENT, ESTUARINE TIDAL FLAT, LANICE-CONCHILEGA, NORTH-SEA, ORGANIC-MATTER, VERTICAL-DISTRIBUTION, COMMUNITY STRUCTURE, SEDIMENTS, BACTERIA

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Citation

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Chicago
Braeckman, Ulrike, Pieter Provoost, Tom Moens, Karline Soetaert, Jack Middelburg, Magda Vincx, and Jan Vanaverbeke. 2011. “Biological Vs. Physical Mixing Effects on Benthic Food Web Dynamics.” Ed. Andrew Wilby. Plos One 6 (3).
APA
Braeckman, U., Provoost, P., Moens, T., Soetaert, K., Middelburg, J., Vincx, M., & Vanaverbeke, J. (2011). Biological vs. physical mixing effects on benthic food web dynamics. (A. Wilby, Ed.)PLOS ONE, 6(3).
Vancouver
1.
Braeckman U, Provoost P, Moens T, Soetaert K, Middelburg J, Vincx M, et al. Biological vs. physical mixing effects on benthic food web dynamics. Wilby A, editor. PLOS ONE. 2011;6(3).
MLA
Braeckman, Ulrike, Pieter Provoost, Tom Moens, et al. “Biological Vs. Physical Mixing Effects on Benthic Food Web Dynamics.” Ed. Andrew Wilby. PLOS ONE 6.3 (2011): n. pag. Print.
@article{1206121,
  abstract     = {Biological particle mixing (bioturbation) and solute transfer (bio-irrigation) contribute extensively to ecosystem functioning in sediments where physical mixing is low. Macrobenthos transports oxygen and organic matter deeper into the sediment, thereby likely providing favourable niches to lower trophic levels (i.e., smaller benthic animals such as meiofauna and bacteria) and thus stimulating mineralisation. Whether this biological transport facilitates fresh organic matter assimilation by the metazoan lower part of the food web through niche establishment (i.e., ecosystem engineering) or rather deprives them from food sources, is so far unclear. We investigated the effects of the ecosystem engineers Lanice conchilega (bio-irrigator) and Abra alba (bioturbator) compared to abiotic physical mixing events on survival and food uptake of nematodes after a simulated phytoplankton bloom. The C-13 labelled diatom Skeletonema costatum was added to 4 treatments: (1) microcosms containing the bioturbator, (2) microcosms containing the bio-irrigator, (3) control microcosms and (4) microcosms with abiotic manual surface mixing. Nematode survival and subsurface peaks in nematode density profiles were most pronounced in the bio-irrigator treatment. However, nematode specific uptake (Delta delta C-13) of the added diatoms was highest in the physical mixing treatment, where macrobenthos was absent and the diatom C-13 was homogenised. Overall, nematodes fed preferentially on bulk sedimentary organic material rather than the added diatoms. The total C budget (mu g C m(-2)), which included (TOC)-C-13 remaining in the sediment, respiration, nematode and macrobenthic uptake, highlighted the limited assimilation by the metazoan benthos and the major role of bacterial respiration. In summary, bioturbation and especially bio-irrigation facilitated the lower trophic levels mainly over the long-term through niche establishment. Since the freshly added diatoms represented only a limited food source for nematodes, the macrobenthic effect was more pronounced in niche establishment than the negative structuring effects such as competition.},
  articleno    = {e18078},
  author       = {Braeckman, Ulrike and Provoost, Pieter and Moens, Tom and Soetaert, Karline and Middelburg, Jack and Vincx, Magda and Vanaverbeke, Jan},
  editor       = {Wilby, Andrew},
  issn         = {1932-6203},
  journal      = {PLOS ONE},
  keyword      = {Bioturbation,nematodes,bio-irrigation,phytoplankton,bloom,stable isotopes,DEEP-SEA NEMATODES,ISOTOPE TRACER EXPERIMENT,ESTUARINE TIDAL FLAT,LANICE-CONCHILEGA,NORTH-SEA,ORGANIC-MATTER,VERTICAL-DISTRIBUTION,COMMUNITY STRUCTURE,SEDIMENTS,BACTERIA},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {12},
  title        = {Biological vs. physical mixing effects on benthic food web dynamics},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0018078},
  volume       = {6},
  year         = {2011},
}

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