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Mussel beds are biological power stations on intertidal flats
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences.
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Number of Authors: 8
2017 (English)In: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, ISSN 0272-7714, E-ISSN 1096-0015, Vol. 191, 21-27 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Intertidal flats are highly productive areas that support large numbers of invertebrates, fish, and birds. Benthic diatoms are essential for the function of tidal flats. They fuel the benthic food web by forming a thin photosynthesizing compartment in the top-layer of the sediment that stretches over the vast sediment flats during low tide. However, the abundance and function of the diatom film is not homogenously distributed. Recently, we have realized the importance of bivalve reefs for structuring intertidal ecosystems; by creating structures on the intertidal flats they provide habitat, reduce hydrodynamic stress and modify the surrounding sediment conditions, which promote the abundance of associated organisms. Accordingly, field studies show that high chlorophyll a concentration in the sediment co-vary with the presence of mussel beds. Here we present conclusive evidence by a manipulative experiment that mussels increase the local biomass of benthic microalgae; and relate this to increasing biomass of microalgae as well as productivity of the biofilm across a nearby mussel bed. Our results show that the ecosystem engineering properties of mussel beds transform them into hot spots for primary production on tidal flats, highlighting the importance of biological control of sedimentary systems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 191, 21-27 p.
Keyword [en]
Ecosystem engineers, Facilitation, Benthic microalgae, Sedimentary systems, Intertidal flat, Coastal production
National Category
Biological Sciences Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-144836DOI: 10.1016/j.ecss.2017.04.003ISI: 000402494100003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-144836DiVA: diva2:1120152
Available from: 2017-07-05 Created: 2017-07-05 Last updated: 2017-07-05Bibliographically approved

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Donadi, Serena
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