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Benthic use of phytoplankton blooms: uptake, burial and biodiversity effects in a species-poor system
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Systems Ecology. (Marin ekologi)
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 [en]
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: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-32598ISBN: 978-91-7155-991-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-32598DiVA: diva2:282620
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
List of papers
1. Incorporation and burial of carbon from settling cyanobacterial blooms by deposit-feeding macrofauna
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Incorporation and burial of carbon from settling cyanobacterial blooms by deposit-feeding macrofauna
2008 (English)In: Limnology and Oceanography, ISSN 0024-3590, E-ISSN 1939-5590, Vol. 53, no 6, 2754-2758 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Summer blooms of filamentous, nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria are typical of the Baltic Sea, and recent findings indicate that cyanobacteria may be an important food source for the benthos below the euphotic zone. In a 2-week laboratory experiment, we measured incorporation of cyanobacterial carbon by the deposit-feeding amphipod Monoporeia affinis when exposed to 14C-radiolabeled, natural blooms of cyanobacteria dominated by either the toxic Nodularia spumigena or non-toxic Aphanizomenon sp. Carbon from both cyanobacterial blooms was used, with greater incorporation from Aphanizomenon-dominated bloom material than from N. spumigena, indicating that the latter is less suitable as food. However, neither cyanobacterium supported significant amphipod growth. Also, less cyanobacterial carbon was mixed down in the sediment in the N. spumigena treatment, indicating lower bioturbation activity in this treatment. Long-term effects on feeding and survival remain to be studied, especially for the toxic N. spumigena.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, Inc., 2008
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-32572 (URN)000261355500037 ()
Available from: 2009-12-14 Created: 2009-12-14 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
2. Deposit-feeders accumulate the cyanobacterial toxin nodularin
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Deposit-feeders accumulate the cyanobacterial toxin nodularin
2011 (English)In: Harmful Algae, ISSN 1568-9883, E-ISSN 1878-1470, Vol. 12, 77-81 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Blooms of toxic cyanobacteria may potentially affect food web productivity and even be a human health hazard. In the Baltic Sea, regularly occurring summer blooms of nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria are often dominated by Nodularia spumigena, which produces the potent hepatotoxin nodularin. Evidence of sedimentation of these blooms indicates that benthic fauna can be exposed to nodularin. In a one month experiment, we simulated the settling of a summer bloom dominated by N. spumigena in sediment microcosms with three species of sediment-dwelling, deposit-feeding macrofauna, the amphipods Monoporeia affinis and Pontoporeia femorata and the bivalve Macoma balthica, and analyzed nodularin in the animals by HPLC-ESI-MS (high-performance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry). We found nodularin in quantities of 50-120 ng g(-1) DW. The results show that deposit-feeding macrofauna in the Baltic Sea may contribute to trophic transfer of nodularin.

Keyword
Benthic-pelagic coupling, Bioaccumulation, Ecosystem effects, Food web, Incorporation
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-74041 (URN)10.1016/j.hal.2011.09.003 (DOI)000299146400008 ()
Note

authorCount :2

Available from: 2012-02-29 Created: 2012-02-28 Last updated: 2017-10-04Bibliographically approved
3. Settling cyanobacterial blooms do not improve growth conditions for soft bottom meiofauna
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Settling cyanobacterial blooms do not improve growth conditions for soft bottom meiofauna
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
Keyword
Benthic-pelagic coupling, Cyanobacteria, Meiofauna, Organic matter quality
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-32584 (URN)10.1016/j.jembe.2008.09.014 (DOI)000262796300005 ()
Available from: 2009-12-14 Created: 2009-12-14 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
4. Higher diversity of deposit-feeding macrofauna enhances phytodetritus processing
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Higher diversity of deposit-feeding macrofauna enhances phytodetritus processing
2010 (English)In: Ecology, ISSN 0012-9658, E-ISSN 1939-9170, Vol. 91, no 5, 1414-1423 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The link between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning is an important question that remains unresolved, particularly in marine systems, in which cycling of organic matter by benthic organisms is of global significance. Direct observations of specific resource use by each species in single- and multispecies communities, as quantified by stable isotopes, facilitates a mechanistic understanding of the importance of each species for ecosystem functioning. We tested the effects of altered biodiversity (species richness) of deposit-feeding macrofauna on incorporation and burial of phytodetritus in combinations of three species representing natural communities found in the sediments of the species-poor Baltic Sea. The three species, two amphipods and a bivalve, had different rates of incorporation and burial and different needs for carbon (C) and nitrogen (N). The amphipods exhibited clear resource partitioning in sympatry, as a result of vertical separation in the sediment and consequent differential use of food. Communities of several species incorporated more C and N than expected from the respective single-species treatments, due to higher incorporation by surface feeders in multispecies treatments. Community incorporation of N in the most diverse treatment even exceeded N incorporation by a single-species treatment of the best-performing species, showing transgressive over-yielding. This over-yielding was primarily due to positive complementarity in all treatments. Diverse soft bottoms are also likely to be more productive in the long run, as species-specific traits (subsurface feeding) preserve fresh phytodetritus by burying it to depths in the sediment at which the mineralization rate is low. The more diverse sediment communities showed more efficient trophic transfer of phytodetritus, a finding of general significance for understanding biological processes driving the transformation of nutrients and energy in benthic ecosystems.

Keyword
Baltic Sea, benthic–pelagic coupling, biodiversity, complementarity, ecosystem function, functional diversity, Macoma balthica, Monoporeia affinis, Pontoporeia femorata, resource partitioning, species richness, transgressive over-yielding
National Category
Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-38888 (URN)10.1890/09-0660.1 (DOI)000277867600017 ()
Available from: 2010-05-03 Created: 2010-05-03 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
5. Effects of a polychaete invader on soft-bottom ecosystem functions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Effects of a polychaete invader on soft-bottom ecosystem functions
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Keyword
biodiversity, ecosystem functioning, invasive species, benthic-pelagic coupling, complementarity, selection, dominance, competition, niche, Baltic Sea
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-32592 (URN)
Available from: 2009-12-14 Created: 2009-12-14 Last updated: 2010-05-05Bibliographically approved

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