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Benthic decomposition of Ulva lactuca: A controlled laboratory experiment
Lomstein, B.Aa.; Guldberg, L.B.; Neubauer, A.-T.A.; Hansen, J.; Donnelly, A.; Herbert, R.A.; Viaroli, P.; Giordani, G.; Azzoni, R.; De Wit, R.; Finster, K. (2006). Benthic decomposition of Ulva lactuca: A controlled laboratory experiment. Aquat. Bot. 85(4): 271-281.
In: Aquatic Botany. Elsevier Science: Tokyo; Oxford; New York; London; Amsterdam. ISSN 0304-3770, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Algae; Benthic environment; Decomposition; Mineralization; Nitrogen cycle; Ulva lactuca Linnaeus, 1753 [WoRMS]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Lomstein, B.Aa., more
  • Guldberg, L.B.
  • Neubauer, A.-T.A.
  • Hansen, J.
  • Donnelly, A.
  • Herbert, R.A.
  • Viaroli, P.
  • Giordani, G.
  • Azzoni, R.
  • De Wit, R.
  • Finster, K.

    The degradation of an Ulva lactuca mat (0.2 kg dw m-2) was studied in a controlled flow-through mesocosm for 31 d. Sediment chambers without U. lactuca served as controls. Fluxes of ΣCO2, O2, inorganic nitrogen, and urea were determined during the incubation period in addition to sulfate reduction rates, POC and PON content, enumeration of specific bacterial populations and evaluation of the physiological state of the added U. lactuca thalli. After U. lactuca addition to the chambers, there was an immediate increase in the efflux of ΣCO2 from 11 to 27 mmol-C m-2 d-1 and a concomitant increase in O2 uptake from 11 to 23 mmol m-2 d-1. These effluxes remained elevated throughout the incubation period. In contrast, the NH4+ efflux increased from 0.1 to 1.8 mmol NH4+ m-2 d-1 during the first 3 d of incubation, followed by 6 d with a constant efflux rate, after which time it decreased gradually to 0.3 mmol NH4+ m-2 d-1 by the end of the experiment. In total, NH4+ accounted for 83% of the total nitrogen efflux after addition of U. lactuca. During the 31 d incubation period there was a continuous colonization of the thalli by bacteria. Sulfate reducers associated with the thalli accounted for 3% of the carbon oxidation on day 31. The molar C:N ratio in mineralization products (the ratio between the efflux of ΣCO2 and NH4+ + NO2- + NO3-) increased from 15 mol mol-1 at day 11 after U. lactuca addition to >80 mol mol-1 by the end of the incubation. Since the C:N ratio in the mineralization products was much higher than the original thallus material (8.9 mol mol-1) it is probable that a preferential incorporation of NH4+ into the increasing bacterial biomass occurred. The nitrogen for bacterial growth was most likely obtained from degradation of U. lactuca thalli as there was no stimulation of urea-N turnover in the sediment during incubation. The net increase in bacteria cell number in the 18-mm thick thallus layer was estimated to be 7.6 × 109 to 2.4 × 1010 bacterial cells cm-3. In contrast, the bacterial cell number remained constant in the -Ulva incubations.

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