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Same pattern, different mechanism: Locking onto the role of key species in seafloor ecosystem process
Woodin, S.A.; Volkenborn, N.; Pilditch, C.A.; Lohrer, A.M.; Wethey, D.S.; Hewitt, J.E.; Thrush, S.F. (2016). Same pattern, different mechanism: Locking onto the role of key species in seafloor ecosystem process. NPG Scientific Reports 6(26678): 11 pp. hdl.handle.net/10.1038/srep26678
In: Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2045-2322, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 

Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Woodin, S.A.
  • Volkenborn, N.
  • Pilditch, C.A.
  • Lohrer, A.M.
  • Wethey, D.S.
  • Hewitt, J.E.
  • Thrush, S.F.

Abstract
    Seafloor biodiversity is a key mediator of ecosystem functioning, but its role is often excluded from global budgets or simplified to black boxes in models. New techniques allow quantification of the behavior of animals living below the sediment surface and assessment of the ecosystem consequences of complex interactions, yielding a better understanding of the role of seafloor animals in affecting key processes like primary productivity. Combining predictions based on natural history, behavior of key benthic species and environmental context allow assessment of differences in functioning and process, even when the measured ecosystem property in different systems is similar. Data from three sedimentary systems in New Zealand illustrate this. Analysis of the behaviors of the infaunal ecosystem engineers in each system revealed three very different mechanisms driving ecosystem function: density and excretion, sediment turnover and surface rugosity, and hydraulic activities and porewater bioadvection. Integrative metrics of ecosystem function in some cases differentiate among the systems (gross primary production) and in others do not (photosynthetic efficiency). Analyses based on behaviors and activities revealed important ecosystem functional differences and can dramatically improve our ability to model the impact of stressors on ecosystem and global processes.

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