Nitrogen Fixed by Cyanobacteria Is Utilized by Deposit-Feeders
2014 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 9, no 8, e104460- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Benthic communities below the photic zone depend for food on allochthonous organic matter derived from seasonal phytoplankton blooms. In the Baltic Sea, the spring diatom bloom is considered the most important input of organic matter, whereas the contribution of the summer bloom dominated by diazotrophic cyanobacteria is less understood. The possible increase in cyanobacteria blooms as a consequence of eutrophication and climate change calls for evaluation of cyanobacteria effects on benthic community functioning and productivity. Here, we examine utilization of cyanobacterial nitrogen by deposit-feeding benthic macrofauna following a cyanobacteria bloom at three stations during two consecutive years and link these changes to isotopic niche and variations in body condition (assayed as C:N ratio) of the animals. Since nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria have delta N-15 close to -2 parts per thousand, we expected the delta N-15 in the deposit-feeders to decrease after the bloom if their assimilation of cyanobacteria-derived nitrogen was substantial. We also expected the settled cyanobacteria with their associated microheterotrophic community and relatively high nitrogen content to increase the isotopic niche area, trophic diversity and dietary divergence between individuals (estimated as the nearest neighbour distance) in the benthic fauna after the bloom. The three surface-feeding species (Monoporeia affinis, Macoma balthica and Marenzelleria arctia) showed significantly lower delta N-15 values after the bloom, while the sub-surface feeder Pontoporeia femorata did not. The effect of the bloom on isotopic niche varied greatly between stations; populations which increased niche area after the bloom had better body condition than populations with reduced niche, regardless of species. Thus, cyanobacterial nitrogen is efficiently integrated into the benthic food webs in the Baltic, with likely consequences for their functioning, secondary production, transfer efficiency, trophic interactions, and intra- and interspecific competition.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 9, no 8, e104460- p.
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences Biological Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-109050DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0104460ISI: 000343231900060OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-109050DiVA: diva2:763471