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Toxic effects of increased sediment nutrient and organic matter loading on the seagrass Zostera noltii
Govers, L.L.; de Brouwer, J.H.F.; Suykerbuyk, W.; Bouma, T.J.; Lamers, L.P.M.; Smolders, A.J.P.; van Katwijk, M.M. (2014). Toxic effects of increased sediment nutrient and organic matter loading on the seagrass Zostera noltii. Aquat. Toxicol. 155: 253–260.
In: Aquatic Toxicology. Elsevier Science: Tokyo; New York; London; Amsterdam. ISSN 0166-445X, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 

Author keywords
    Nutrient; Sulfide toxicity; Eutrophication; Organic matter; Joint detoxification

Authors  Top 
  • Govers, L.L.
  • de Brouwer, J.H.F.
  • Suykerbuyk, W., more
  • Bouma, T.J., more
  • Lamers, L.P.M.
  • Smolders, A.J.P.
  • van Katwijk, M.M., more

    As a result of anthropogenic disturbances and natural stressors, seagrass beds are often patchy and heterogeneous. The effects of high loads of nutrients and organic matter in patch development and expansion in heterogeneous seagrass beds have, however, poorly been studied. We experimentally assessed the in situ effects of sediment quality on seagrass (Zostera noltii) patch dynamics by studying patch (0.35 m diameter) development and expansion for 4 sediment treatments: control, nutrient addition (NPK), organic matter addition (OM) and a combination (NPK + OM). OM addition strongly increased porewater sulfide concentrations whereas NPK increased porewater ammonium, nitrate and phosphate concentrations. As high nitrate concentrations suppressed sulfide production in NPK + OM, this treatment was biogeochemically comparable to NPK. Sulfide and ammonium concentrations differed within treatments, but over a 77 days period, seagrass patch survival and expansion were impaired by all additions compared to the control treatment. Expansion decreased at porewater ammonium concentrations >2000 µmol L-1. Mother patch biomass was not affected by high porewater ammonium concentrations as a result of its detoxification by higher seagrass densities. Sulfide concentrations >1000 µmol L-1 were toxic to both patch expansion and mother patch. We conclude that patch survival and expansion are constrained at high loads of nutrients or organic matter as a result of porewater ammonium or sulfide toxicity.

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