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Biotic interactions influence sediment erodibility on wave exposed sandflats

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Abstract
Biological activities in marine soft-sediments can modify the sedimentary environment through processes that change erosion rates. In low-energy environments, bioturbating macrofauna destabilizes sediments while microbes bind sediments and stabilize them. The degree to which these counter-acting processes influence sediment movement in a physically dynamic environment has not been well quantified. In a field experiment, we established 56 (1 m(2)) plots on an exposed intertidal sandflat. We used shade cloth and manipulated grazing pressure exerted by the deposit-feeding bivalve Macomona liliana (0-200 ind. m(-2)) to alter the microphytobenthic community. Three months post-manipulation, initiation of sediment transport (T-c) and change in sediment erosion rate with increasing bed shear stress (m(e)) were measured. Mean grain size, density of the spionid polychaete Aonides trifida, density of adult M. liliana, and bulk carbohydrate concentration could account for 54% of the variation in T-c (0.3-1.1 N m(-2) s(-1)). Mean grain size was the only significant predictor (p <= 0.01) of me explaining 22% of the variability (6-20 g N-1 s(-1)). T-c was negatively correlated with density of several abundant shallow- dwelling bioturbators (indicating sediment destabilization), but we did not observe the expected increase in T-c with microbial biomass. Furthermore, there was a positive correlation between adult M. liliana and T-c as well as evidence for several positive feedbacks between abundant shallow- dwelling macrofauna and microbial biomass. These study results demonstrate that despite frequent reworking by tidal currents and waves, bioturbating macrofauna are important to initiating sediment transport regardless of their effects on microbial biomass.
Keywords
Deposit-feeding, Microphytobenthos, Benthic macrofauna, Sediment stability, Infauna, Positive feedbacks, Macomona liliana, Habitat modifiers, EXTRACELLULAR POLYMERIC SUBSTANCES, EROSION SHEAR-STRESS, FRISIAN WADDEN SEA, INTERTIDAL SEDIMENTS, AUSTROVENUS-STUTCHBURYI, ECOSYSTEM FUNCTION, JUVENILE BIVALVES, MACOMONA-LILIANA, BENTHIC DIATOMS, NEW-ZEALAND

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Citation

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MLA
Harris, Rachel J., et al. “Biotic Interactions Influence Sediment Erodibility on Wave Exposed Sandflats.” MARINE ECOLOGY PROGRESS SERIES, vol. 523, 2015, pp. 15–30.
APA
Harris, R. J., Pilditch, C. A., Hewitt, J. E., Lohrer, A. M., Van Colen, C., Townsend, M., & Thrush, S. F. (2015). Biotic interactions influence sediment erodibility on wave exposed sandflats. MARINE ECOLOGY PROGRESS SERIES, 523, 15–30.
Chicago author-date
Harris, Rachel J, Conrad A Pilditch, Judi E Hewitt, Andrew M Lohrer, Carl Van Colen, Michael Townsend, and Simon F Thrush. 2015. “Biotic Interactions Influence Sediment Erodibility on Wave Exposed Sandflats.” MARINE ECOLOGY PROGRESS SERIES 523: 15–30.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Harris, Rachel J, Conrad A Pilditch, Judi E Hewitt, Andrew M Lohrer, Carl Van Colen, Michael Townsend, and Simon F Thrush. 2015. “Biotic Interactions Influence Sediment Erodibility on Wave Exposed Sandflats.” MARINE ECOLOGY PROGRESS SERIES 523: 15–30.
Vancouver
1.
Harris RJ, Pilditch CA, Hewitt JE, Lohrer AM, Van Colen C, Townsend M, et al. Biotic interactions influence sediment erodibility on wave exposed sandflats. MARINE ECOLOGY PROGRESS SERIES. 2015;523:15–30.
IEEE
[1]
R. J. Harris et al., “Biotic interactions influence sediment erodibility on wave exposed sandflats,” MARINE ECOLOGY PROGRESS SERIES, vol. 523, pp. 15–30, 2015.
@article{5791598,
  abstract     = {Biological activities in marine soft-sediments can modify the sedimentary environment through processes that change erosion rates. In low-energy environments, bioturbating macrofauna destabilizes sediments while microbes bind sediments and stabilize them. The degree to which these counter-acting processes influence sediment movement in a physically dynamic environment has not been well quantified. In a field experiment, we established 56 (1 m(2)) plots on an exposed intertidal sandflat. We used shade cloth and manipulated grazing pressure exerted by the deposit-feeding bivalve Macomona liliana (0-200 ind. m(-2)) to alter the microphytobenthic community. Three months post-manipulation, initiation of sediment transport (T-c) and change in sediment erosion rate with increasing bed shear stress (m(e)) were measured. Mean grain size, density of the spionid polychaete Aonides trifida, density of adult M. liliana, and bulk carbohydrate concentration could account for 54% of the variation in T-c (0.3-1.1 N m(-2) s(-1)). Mean grain size was the only significant predictor (p <= 0.01) of me explaining 22% of the variability (6-20 g N-1 s(-1)). T-c was negatively correlated with density of several abundant shallow- dwelling bioturbators (indicating sediment destabilization), but we did not observe the expected increase in T-c with microbial biomass. Furthermore, there was a positive correlation between adult M. liliana and T-c as well as evidence for several positive feedbacks between abundant shallow- dwelling macrofauna and microbial biomass. These study results demonstrate that despite frequent reworking by tidal currents and waves, bioturbating macrofauna are important to initiating sediment transport regardless of their effects on microbial biomass.},
  author       = {Harris, Rachel J and Pilditch, Conrad A and Hewitt, Judi E and Lohrer, Andrew M and Van Colen, Carl and Townsend, Michael and Thrush, Simon F},
  issn         = {0171-8630},
  journal      = {MARINE ECOLOGY PROGRESS SERIES},
  keywords     = {Deposit-feeding,Microphytobenthos,Benthic macrofauna,Sediment stability,Infauna,Positive feedbacks,Macomona liliana,Habitat modifiers,EXTRACELLULAR POLYMERIC SUBSTANCES,EROSION SHEAR-STRESS,FRISIAN WADDEN SEA,INTERTIDAL SEDIMENTS,AUSTROVENUS-STUTCHBURYI,ECOSYSTEM FUNCTION,JUVENILE BIVALVES,MACOMONA-LILIANA,BENTHIC DIATOMS,NEW-ZEALAND},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {15--30},
  title        = {Biotic interactions influence sediment erodibility on wave exposed sandflats},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.3354/meps11164},
  volume       = {523},
  year         = {2015},
}

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