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Benthic community-mediated sediment dynamics

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Abstract
We assessed the influence of benthic communities on sediment properties in large defaunation experiments in replicated 16 m(2) plots on a tidal flat in the Westerschelde estuary (SW Netherlands). We compared microphytobenthos and benthic macrofauna recovery and recolonisation between control and defaunated sediments during 8 mo following the defaunation, focussing on how the temporal scale of biological responses interact with the temporal scale of sedimentological developments (grain size, bed level, erosion threshold). In the first month, microphytobenthos (surface chl a content) increased to > 3 times the control values and remained elevated until 3 mo after the start of the experiment. Macrofaunal recovery started with mobile mudsnails after only a few days. Tube-building macrofauna dominated first, followed by surface-disrupting species. Both groups became much more dominant in defaunated than in control plots. Surface pelletisers almost recovered to control levels after 4 mo, while biodiffusing bivalves did not recover during the course of the experiment, Mud content of the sediment surface first increased with chl a, but started to decrease, concomitant with an over-representation of surface disruptors. A similar trend was observed for critical erosion threshold. Bed elevation of experimental plots exceeded controls by several cm. after 1 mo, and remained higher through summer. The time scales of changes in microphytobenthos and in abiotic characteristics of the sediment were largely set by the time scale of macrofauna recovery. Macrobenthos plays a critical, but complex role in the dynamics of intertidal sediments.
Keywords
STABILITY, WADDEN SEA, MARINE-SEDIMENTS, Microphytobenthos, Macrobenthos, Bio-physical interactions, BIOTURBATION, INTERTIDAL SEDIMENTS, Grain size, HYDROBIA-ULVAE, TIDAL FLAT, Deposition, TEMPORAL VARIATION, DENSE AGGREGATIONS, NEREIS-DIVERSICOLOR, Sediment, Intertidal, Erosion

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Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

MLA
Montserrat, Francesc, et al. “Benthic Community-Mediated Sediment Dynamics.” MARINE ECOLOGY-PROGRESS SERIES, vol. 372, 2008, pp. 43–59.
APA
Montserrat, F., Van Colen, C., Degraer, S., Ysebaert, T., & Herman, P. M. (2008). Benthic community-mediated sediment dynamics. MARINE ECOLOGY-PROGRESS SERIES, 372, 43–59.
Chicago author-date
Montserrat, Francesc, Carl Van Colen, Steven Degraer, Tom Ysebaert, and Peter MJ Herman. 2008. “Benthic Community-Mediated Sediment Dynamics.” MARINE ECOLOGY-PROGRESS SERIES 372: 43–59.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Montserrat, Francesc, Carl Van Colen, Steven Degraer, Tom Ysebaert, and Peter MJ Herman. 2008. “Benthic Community-Mediated Sediment Dynamics.” MARINE ECOLOGY-PROGRESS SERIES 372: 43–59.
Vancouver
1.
Montserrat F, Van Colen C, Degraer S, Ysebaert T, Herman PM. Benthic community-mediated sediment dynamics. MARINE ECOLOGY-PROGRESS SERIES. 2008;372:43–59.
IEEE
[1]
F. Montserrat, C. Van Colen, S. Degraer, T. Ysebaert, and P. M. Herman, “Benthic community-mediated sediment dynamics,” MARINE ECOLOGY-PROGRESS SERIES, vol. 372, pp. 43–59, 2008.
@article{921116,
  abstract     = {We assessed the influence of benthic communities on sediment properties in large defaunation experiments in replicated 16 m(2) plots on a tidal flat in the Westerschelde estuary (SW Netherlands). We compared microphytobenthos and benthic macrofauna recovery and recolonisation between control and defaunated sediments during 8 mo following the defaunation, focussing on how the temporal scale of biological responses interact with the temporal scale of sedimentological developments (grain size, bed level, erosion threshold). In the first month, microphytobenthos (surface chl a content) increased to > 3 times the control values and remained elevated until 3 mo after the start of the experiment. Macrofaunal recovery started with mobile mudsnails after only a few days. Tube-building macrofauna dominated first, followed by surface-disrupting species. Both groups became much more dominant in defaunated than in control plots. Surface pelletisers almost recovered to control levels after 4 mo, while biodiffusing bivalves did not recover during the course of the experiment, Mud content of the sediment surface first increased with chl a, but started to decrease, concomitant with an over-representation of surface disruptors. A similar trend was observed for critical erosion threshold. Bed elevation of experimental plots exceeded controls by several cm. after 1 mo, and remained higher through summer. The time scales of changes in microphytobenthos and in abiotic characteristics of the sediment were largely set by the time scale of macrofauna recovery. Macrobenthos plays a critical, but complex role in the dynamics of intertidal sediments.},
  author       = {Montserrat, Francesc and Van Colen, Carl and Degraer, Steven and Ysebaert, Tom and Herman, Peter MJ},
  issn         = {0171-8630},
  journal      = {MARINE ECOLOGY-PROGRESS SERIES},
  keywords     = {STABILITY,WADDEN SEA,MARINE-SEDIMENTS,Microphytobenthos,Macrobenthos,Bio-physical interactions,BIOTURBATION,INTERTIDAL SEDIMENTS,Grain size,HYDROBIA-ULVAE,TIDAL FLAT,Deposition,TEMPORAL VARIATION,DENSE AGGREGATIONS,NEREIS-DIVERSICOLOR,Sediment,Intertidal,Erosion},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {43--59},
  title        = {Benthic community-mediated sediment dynamics},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.3354/meps07769},
  volume       = {372},
  year         = {2008},
}

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