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
Betydelsen av biologisk mångfald för ekosystemprocesser i sediment : experimentella exempel från Östersjön (Swedish)
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.
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
Research subject Marine Ecotoxicology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-38893ISBN: 978-91-7447-087-1OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-38893DiVA: diva2:317367
2010-06-04, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Grémare, Antoine, Professor
Gunnarsson, Jonas, DocentSjöling, Sara, DocentKautsky, Nils, Professor
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.
List of papers