Meiofauna enhances organic matter mineralization in soft sediment ecosystems
2010 (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Organic matter mineralization in soft sediments is a key process mediated by benthic fauna and bacteria that is crucial for sustaining primary production in aquatic systems. Few studies have examined the effect of meiofauna on the degradation of labile organic matter in soft sediments. Here we investigated the influence of meiofauna on the benthic decomposition of a radiolabelled diatom bloom by measuring the production of 14CO2 in a laboratory microcosm. Mineralization of the diatom bloom material was significantly enhanced when meiofauna was present in higher abundances, with cumulative mineralization values after 17 days being on average 50% greater in the treatment with high meiofauna abundance compared to sediments with low meiofauna abundance. Our experiment shows that meiofauna can enhance the mineralization of organic matter, probably by stimulating the activity of sediment bacterial community, indicating that positive biological interactions such as facilitation from meiofauna are important for ecosystem processes in soft sediments.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Research subject Animal Ecology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-38803OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-38803DiVA: diva2:315428