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Effects of eelgrass (Zostera marina) canopy removal and sediment addition on sediment characteristics and benthic communities in the Northern Baltic Sea
Herkül, K.; Kotta, J. (2009). Effects of eelgrass (Zostera marina) canopy removal and sediment addition on sediment characteristics and benthic communities in the Northern Baltic Sea, in: Proceedings of the 43rd European Marine Biology Symposium, The Azores Islands (Portugal), 8-12 September 2008. Marine Ecology (Berlin), 30(S1): pp. 74-82. dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1439-0485.2009.00307.x
In: (2009). Proceedings of the 43rd European Marine Biology Symposium, The Azores Islands (Portugal), 8-12 September 2008. Marine Ecology (Berlin), 30(S1). Wiley: London. 202 pp., more
In: Marine Ecology (Berlin). Blackwell: Berlin. ISSN 0173-9565, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 
Document type: Conference paper

Keywords
    Hydrocharitaceae Jussieu [WoRMS]; Zostera marina Linnaeus, 1753 [WoRMS]; Marine
Author keywords
    Baltic Sea; benthic community; disturbance; oxygen flux; seagrass; sedimentation; Zostera marina

Authors  Top 
  • Herkül, K.
  • Kotta, J., more

Abstract
    The eelgrass Zostera marina is a key structural and functional species across the European coastline. The separate and interactive effects of eelgrass canopy removal and sediment addition on the sediment characteristics and the structure of benthic communities were studied in a factorial field experiment in the Northern Baltic Sea in July–August 2006. The removal of eelgrass canopy temporarily increased the sediment oxygen consumption, reduced the content of fine particles (<100 µm) and organic matter in the sediment, and increased the share of sand fraction (250–500 µm). Sediment addition increased the content of fine particles (<100 µm) and reduced the share of sand fraction (250–1000 µm). The effects were strongest in the presence of eelgrass canopy. Benthic invertebrates and macroalgae were affected by eelgrass canopy removal but not by sediment addition. The removal of eelgrass canopy significantly decreased benthic species richness and invertebrate and macroalgal densities. To conclude, our experiment demonstrates that Z. marina defines the patterns of benthic macroalgae and invertebrates but has moderate effects on sediment structure and metabolism in the Northern Baltic Sea.

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