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Higher diversity of deposit-feeding macrofauna enhances phytodetritus processing
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Systems Ecology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Systems Ecology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Systems Ecology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Systems Ecology.
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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 91, no 5, 1414-1423 p.
Keyword [en]
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: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-38888DOI: 10.1890/09-0660.1ISI: 000277867600017OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-38888DiVA: diva2:317269
Available from: 2010-05-03 Created: 2010-05-03 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The importance of biodiversity for ecosystem processes in sediments: experimental examples from the Baltic Sea
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The importance of biodiversity for ecosystem processes in sediments: experimental examples from the Baltic Sea
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Betydelsen av biologisk mångfald för ekosystemprocesser i sediment : experimentella exempel från Östersjön
Abstract [en]

Aquatic sediments are, by surface, the largest habitat on Earth. A wide diversity of organisms inhabit these sediments and by their actions they have a large influence on and also mediate many ecosystem processes. Several of these processes, such as decomposition and remineralisation of organic matter are important on a global scale and are essential to sustain life on Earth. The main aim of this thesis was to use an experimental ecosystem ecology approach in order to study some of these ecosystem processes in marine sediments and how they are linked to biodiversity.

Paper I and II found that an increased species richness of sediment deposit feeders increases the processing of organic matter from phytoplankton settled on the sea-floor, and that species-rich communities have a more efficient resource utilization of deposited organic matter. The results in paper IV and V also suggest that there is a link between microbial diversity in sediments and the degradation of organic contaminants. Paper V also shows that antibiotic pollution is a potential threat to natural microbial diversity and microbially mediated ecosystem services. The introduction of invasive species to ecosystems is another major threat to biodiversity and was studied in Paper II and III, by investigating the ecology of Marenzelleria arctia, a polychaete worm recently introduced in the Baltic Sea. Paper II suggests that M. arctia mainly utilize food resources not used by native deposit feeders, thus potentially increasing the benthic production in the Baltic Sea by increasing resource use efficiency. Paper III, however, show that M. arctia is protected from predation by the native benthic invertebrate predators, due to its ability to burrow deep in the sediment, suggesting that predation on M. arctia by higher trophic levels is restricted, thereby limiting trophic transfer.

In conclusion, this thesis gives some examples of the importance of marine biodiversity for the generation of a few key ecosystem processes, such as organic matter processing and the degradation of harmful contaminants.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University, 2010. 37 p.
Keyword
Biodiversity, Soft-bottom sediment, Ecosystem processes, Ecosystem function, Benthic-pelagic coupling, Baltic Sea, Trophic interactions, Pollutant biodegradation, Organic matter mineralization, Deposit feeder, Detritivore, Invasive species
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Marine Ecotoxicology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-38893 (URN)978-91-7447-087-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-06-04, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 13:00 (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 3: Manuscript. Paper 4: In press. Available from: 2010-05-11 Created: 2010-05-03 Last updated: 2010-05-05Bibliographically approved
2. 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

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