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Settling cyanobacterial blooms do not improve growth conditions for soft bottom meiofauna
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Systems Ecology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Systems Ecology. (Marin Ekologi)
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Systems Ecology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Systems Ecology.
2009 (English)In: Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, ISSN 0022-0981, E-ISSN 1879-1697, Vol. 368, 138-146 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Summer blooms of the toxin-producing cyanobacteria Nodularia spumigena are frequent in the Baltic Sea and recent findings suggest that they may be an important food source for the benthos below the euphotic zone. To investigate the effects of settling spring and summer phytoplankton blooms on meiofaunal growth, we assayed concentrations of nucleic acids in three ostracod species (Candona neglecta; Heterocyprideis sorbyana and Paracyprideis fennica) and one genus of nematodes (Paracanthonchus spp.) after incubation in sediments with the one of the following food additions: (1) diatoms, (2) the cyanobacterium Nodularia spumigena, (3) Tetraphyll® as a known high-quality food source, (4) lignin as a refractory artificial food, and (5) control (no added organic matter). The ribosomal ribonucleic acid (RNA) content and RNA:DNA ratios of the tested organisms were lower in the cyanobacteria treatment than in the diatom treatment, with the difference in RNA:DNA ratios being statistically significant for all species except C. neglecta. Moreover, individuals incubated with N. spumigena showed RNA:DNA levels similar to those found in the lignin and control treatments. Furthermore, N. spumigena had lower concentrations of both enzymatically hydrolysable amino acids (EHAA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) than diatoms suggesting lower nutritional quality for consumers. These results indicate that recently settled summer blooms of N. spumigena are nutritionally poor and do not improve conditions for meiofaunal growth in Baltic sediments. In contrast, input of diatoms to the sediments during spring is crucial for meiofaunal growth.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier B.V , 2009. Vol. 368, 138-146 p.
Keyword [en]
Benthic-pelagic coupling, Cyanobacteria, Meiofauna, Organic matter quality
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-32584DOI: 10.1016/j.jembe.2008.09.014ISI: 000262796300005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-32584DiVA: diva2:281015
Available from: 2009-12-14 Created: 2009-12-14 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Benthic use of phytoplankton blooms: uptake, burial and biodiversity effects in a species-poor system
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Benthic use of phytoplankton blooms: uptake, burial and biodiversity effects in a species-poor system
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Animals living in marine sediments (the second largest habitat on earth) play a major role in global biogeochemical cycling. By feeding on organic matter from settled phytoplankton blooms they produce food for higher trophic levels and nutrients that can fuel primary production. In the Baltic Sea, anthropogenic stresses, such as eutrophication and introductions of invasive species, have altered phytoplankton dynamics and benthic communities. This thesis discusses the effects of different types of phytoplankton on the deposit-feeding community and the importance of benthic biodiversity for fate of the phytoplankton bloom-derived organic matter.

Deposit-feeders survived and fed on settled cyanobacterial bloom material and in doing so accumulated the cyanobacterial toxin nodularin. Their growth after feeding on cyanobacteria was much slower than on a diet of spring bloom diatoms. The results show that settling blooms of cyanobacteria are used as food without obvious toxic effects, although they do not sustain rapid growth of the fauna. Since all tested species accumulated the cyanotoxin, negative effects higher up in the food web can not be ruled out. Both species composition and richness of deposit-feeding macrofauna influenced how much of the phytoplankton bloom material that was incorporated in fauna or retained in the sediment. The mechanism behind the positive effect of species richness was mainly niche differentiation among functionally different species, resulting in a more efficient utilization of resources at greater biodiversity. This was observed even after addition of an invasive polychaete species. Hence, species loss can be expected to affect benthic productivity negatively. In conclusion, efficiency in organic matter processing depends both on pelagic phytoplankton quality and benthic community composition and species richness.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University, 2010. 39 p.
Keyword
biodiversity, ecosystem functioning, benthic-pelagic coupling, niche, resource partitioning, competition, eutrophication, cyanobacterial blooms, diatoms, invasive species, Baltic Sea
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Marine Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-32598 (URN)978-91-7155-991-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-02-05, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 09:30 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Manuscript. Paper 4: In press. Paper 5: Manuscript.

Available from: 2009-12-21 Created: 2009-12-14 Last updated: 2017-10-04Bibliographically approved
2. Trophic ecology of meiofauna: Response to sedimentation of phytoplankton blooms in the Baltic Sea
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Trophic ecology of meiofauna: Response to sedimentation of phytoplankton blooms in the Baltic Sea
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Marine soft sediments are the second largest habitat on Earth. How animal communities in this habitat are structured is a central issue in marine ecology. Food is an important limiting factor for many benthic populations, and settling organic matter from phytoplankton blooms is of vital importance to them. This thesis discusses the effects of settling phytoplankton blooms on benthic meiofaunal populations in the Baltic Sea and how species interactions affect the fate of settled organic matter. Eutrophication in the Baltic Sea has altered phytoplankton community dynamics, with indications that toxin-producing cyanobacterial blooms may reach the benthos in greater quantity than previously. Paper I found that meiofauna feed on settled cyanobacteria, yet suffer no increase in mortality. However, growth of meiofauna is significantly slower on a diet of cyanobacteria than when fed spring bloom diatoms, indicating that the studied cyanobacteria are nutritionally poor (Paper II). In Paper III we found that the presence of macrofauna reduces the access of meiofauna to settled organic matter, presumably through interference competition that increases when several macrofauna species are present. We also found that meiofaunal populations influence the provision of ecosystem services by benthic microbes. Paper IV shows that when meiofauna is abundant, mineralization of organic matter is positively affected, presumably through facilitation mechanisms. In contrast, paper V reports that degradation of the contaminant naphtalene decreases significantly at high meiofauna abundance.

In conclusion, this thesis shows that type and quality of organic matter available, as well as competition from macrofauna, affect how meiofauna grow and incorporate nutrients. Furthermore we found meiofauna to be an important functional component of the benthic ecosystem, with marked effects on ecosystem processes such as nutrient regeneration and contaminant degradation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University, 2010
Keyword
Meiofauna, Cyanobacteria, competition, facilitation, ecosystems processes
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Marine Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-38809 (URN)978-91-7447-083-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-05-27, Högbomsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 09:30 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript. Paper 5: In press.

Available from: 2010-05-05 Created: 2010-04-29 Last updated: 2017-10-04Bibliographically approved

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