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Role of macrofauna functional traits and density in biogeochemical fluxes and bioturbation
Braeckman, U.; Provoost, P.; Gribsholt, B.; Van Gansbeke, D.; Middelburg, J.; Soetaert, K.; Vincx, M.; Vanaverbeke, J. (2010). Role of macrofauna functional traits and density in biogeochemical fluxes and bioturbation. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 399: 173-186. dx.doi.org/10.3354/meps08336
In: Marine Ecology Progress Series. Inter-Research: Oldendorf. ISSN 0171-8630, more
Peer reviewed article

Also published as
  • Braeckman, U.; Provoost, P.; Gribsholt, B.; Van Gansbeke, D.; Middelburg, J.; Soetaert, K.; Vincx, M.; Vanaverbeke, J. (2011). Role of macrofauna functional traits and density in biogeochemical fluxes and bioturbation, in: Braeckman, U. (2011). Macrobenthos structuring the sea floor: importance of its functional biodiversity for the benthic ecosystem = De structurerende rol van macrobenthos in de zeebodem: belang van de functionele biodiversiteit voor het benthische ecosysteem. pp. 25-50, more

Available in Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 156168 [ OMA ]

Keywords
    Benthos; Bioturbation; Density; Ecosystems; Functional analysis; Macrobenthos; Temporal variations; Abra alba (W. Wood, 1802) [WoRMS]; Abra alba (W. Wood, 1802) [WoRMS]; Lanice conchilega (Pallas, 1766) [WoRMS]; Lanice conchilega (Pallas, 1766) [WoRMS]; Nephtys Cuvier, 1817 [WoRMS]; Nephtys Cuvier, 1817 [WoRMS]; ANE, North Sea, Southern Bight [Marine Regions]; Marine
Author keywords
    Ecosystem functioning; Macrobenthos; Functional traits; Density; Temporal variability; Lanice conchilega; Abra alba; Nephtys sp.

Authors  Top 
  • Braeckman, U., more
  • Provoost, P., more
  • Gribsholt, B., more
  • Van Gansbeke, D., more

Abstract
    The importance of different functional traits of macrobenthos in benthic processes of the Southern Bight of the North Sea was investigated to estimate the effects of density declines and species loss on benthic ecosystem functioning. Two laboratory experiments were performed: before (winter, temperature = 10°C) and after (summer, temperature = 18°C) sedimentation of the spring phytoplankton bloom. Single species treatments of key species (Abra alba, Lanice conchilega and Nephtys sp.) with different functional traits were added to microcosms at 3 density levels (natural, lower, lowest) to account for possible density declines. Sediment–water exchanges of oxygen and nutrients, denitrification and bioturbation were measured. In absence of fauna, benthic mineralisation in the summer experiment was 2.0 times higher than in winter. Fauna stimulated microbial respiration more in summer (up to 100% in L. conchilega treatments) than in winter (negligible fauna effect). As chlorophyll a concentrations were similar in both seasons, the stronger fluxes in summer must be explained by a higher macrobenthic activity owing to the elevated temperature and better condition of the animals. Stimulation of mineralisation by the 3 species in the microcosms was different, and behaviour-related. Owing to its irrigation activity, the tube dweller L. conchilega had more pronounced influences on benthic respiration, nutrient release and denitrification than did the biodiffusers, A. alba and Nephtys sp. A. alba appeared to be a more effective bioturbator than Nephtys sp. Processes such as benthic respiration, nutrient fluxes, denitrification and bioturbation seem to be related to animal densities and therefore decreases in densities can possibly have implications for ecosystem functioning.

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