Browsing by Subject "BENTHIC MACROFAUNA"

Sort by: Order: Results:

Now showing items 1-7 of 7
  • Villnäs, Anna; Janas, Urzsula; Josefson, Alf B.; Kendzierska, Halina; Nygård, Henrik; Norkko, Joanna; Norkko, Alf (2019)
    Benthic macrofaunal communities have a profound impact on organic matter turnover and nutrient cycling in marine sediments. Their activities are of particular importance in the coastal filter, where nutrients and organic matter from land are transformed and/or retained before reaching the open sea. The benthic fauna modify the coastal filter directly (through consumption, respiration, excretion and biomass production) and indirectly (through bioturbation). It is hard to experimentally quantify faunal contribution to the coastal filter over large spatial and temporal scales that encompass significant environmental and biological heterogeneity. However, estimates can be obtained with biological trait analyses. By using benthic biological traits, we explored how the potential contribution of macrofaunal communities to the coastal filter differ between inner and outer sites in an extensive archipelago area and examine the generality of the observed pattern across contrasting coastal areas of the entire Baltic Sea. Estimates of benthic bioturbation, longevity and size (i.e. ‘stability’) and total energy and nutrient contents differed between coastal areas and inner versus outer sites. Benthic traits indicative of an enhanced nutrient turnover but a decreased capacity for temporal nutrient retention dominated inner sites, while outer sites were often dominated by larger individuals, exhibiting traits that are likely to enhance nutrient uptake and retention. The overarching similarities in benthic trait expression between more eutrophied inner vs. less affected outer coastal sites across the Baltic Sea suggest that benthic communities might contribute in a similar manner to nutrient recycling and retention in the coastal filter over large geographical scales.
  • Maximov, Alexey; Bonsdorff, Erik; Eremina, Tatjana; Kauppi, Laura; Norkko, Alf; Norkko, Joanna (2015)
    Marenzelleria spp. are among the most successful non-native benthic species in the Baltic Sea. These burrowing polychaetes dig deeper than most native Baltic species, performing previously lacking ecosystem functions. We examine evidence from experiments, field sampling and modelling that the introduction of Marenzelleria spp. affects nutrient cycling and biogeochemical processes at the sediment water interface. Over longer time scales, bioirrigation by Marenzelleria spp. has the potential to increase phosphorus retention in bottom deposits because of deeper oxygen penetration into sediments and formation of a deeper oxidized layer. In contrast, nitrogen fluxes from the sediment increase. As a consequence of a decline of the phosphate concentration and/or rising nitrogen/phosphorus ratio, some Northern Baltic ecosystems may experience improvement of the environment because of mitigation of eutrophication and harmful cyanobacteria blooms. Although it is difficult to unambiguously estimate the ecosystem-level consequences of invasion, in many cases it could be considered as positive due to increased structural and functional diversity. The long-term interactions with the native fauna still remain unknown, however, and in this paper we highlight the major knowledge gaps. (C) 2015 Institute of Oceanology of the Polish Academy of Sciences., Production and hosting by Elsevier Sp. z o.o.
  • Gammal, Johanna; Hewitt, Judi; Norkko, Joanna; Norkko, Alf; Thrush, Simon (2020)
    The biodiversity crisis has increased interest in understanding the role of biodiversity for ecosystem functioning. Functional traits are often used to infer ecosystem functions to increase our understanding of these relationships over larger spatial scales. The links between specific traits and ecosystem functioning are, however, not always well established. We investigated how the choice of analyzing either individual species, selected modalities, or trait combinations affected the spatial patterns observed on a sandflat and how this was related to the natural variability in ecosystem functioning. A large dataset of 400 benthic macrofauna samples was used to explore distribution patterns. We hypothesized that (1) if multiple species (redundancy) represent a trait combination or a modality their spatial patterns would be smoothed out, and (2) the lost spatial variability within a trait combination or modality, due to the smoothing effect, would potentially affect their utility for predicting ecosystem functioning (tested on a dataset of 24 samples). We predicted that species would show heterogeneous small spatial patterns, while modalities and trait combinations would show larger and more homogeneous patterns because they would represent a collection of many distributions. If modalities and trait combinations are better predictors of ecosystem functioning than species, then the smoother spatial patterns of modalities and trait combinations would result in a more homogeneous landscape of ecosystem function and the number of species exhibiting specific traits would provide functional redundancy. Our results showed some smoothing of spatial patterns progressing from species through modalities to trait combinations, but generally spatial patterns reflected a few dominant key species. Moreover, some individual modalities and species explained more or equal proportions of the variance in the ecosystem functioning than the combined traits. The findings thus suggest that only some spatial variability is lost when species are combined into modalities and trait combinations and that a homogeneous landscape of ecosystem function is not likely.
  • Carstensen, Jacob; Conley, Daniel J.; Almroth-Rosell, Elin; Asmala, Eero; Bonsdorff, Erik; Fleming-Lehtinen, Vivi; Gustafsson, Bo G.; Gustafsson, Camilla; Heiskanen, Anna-Stiina; Janas, Urzsula; Norkko, Alf; Slomp, Caroline; Villnäs, Anna; Voss, Maren; Zilius, Mindaugas (2020)
    The coastal zone of the Baltic Sea is diverse with strong regional differences in the physico-chemical setting. This diversity is also reflected in the importance of different biogeochemical processes altering nutrient and organic matter fluxes on the passage from land to sea. This review investigates the most important processes for removal of nutrients and organic matter, and the factors that regulate the efficiency of the coastal filter. Nitrogen removal through denitrification is high in lagoons receiving large inputs of nitrate and organic matter. Phosphorus burial is high in archipelagos with substantial sedimentation, but the stability of different burial forms varies across the Baltic Sea. Organic matter processes are tightly linked to the nitrogen and phosphorus cycles. Moreover, these processes are strongly modulated depending on composition of vegetation and fauna. Managing coastal ecosystems to improve the effectiveness of the coastal filter can reduce eutrophication in the open Baltic Sea.
  • Kauppi, Laura; Bernard, G.; Bastrop, R.; Norkko, Alf; Norkko, Joanna (2018)
    Bioturbation is a key process affecting nutrient cycling in soft sediments. The invasive polychaete genus Marenzelleria spp. has established successfully throughout the Baltic Sea increasing species and functional diversity with possible density-dependent effects on bioturbation and associated solute fluxes. We tested the effects of increasing density of M. arctia, M. viridis and M. neglecta on bioturbation and solute fluxes in a laboratory experiment. Benthic communities in intact sediment cores were manipulated by adding increasing numbers of Marenzelleria spp. The results showed that Marenzelleria spp. in general enhanced all bioturbation metrics, but the effects on solute fluxes varied depending on the solute, on the density and species identity of Marenzelleria, and on the species and functional composition of the surrounding community. M. viridis and M. neglecta were more important in predicting variation in phosphate and silicate fluxes, whereas M. arctia had a larger effect on nitrogen cycling. The complex direct and indirect pathways indicate the importance of considering the whole community and not just species in isolation in the experimental studies. Including these interactions provides a way forward regarding our understanding of the complex ecosystem effects of invasive species.
  • Joensuu, Mari; Pilditch, Conrad A.; Norkko, Alf (2020)
    Sediment resuspension may play a major role in sediment-water exchange of nutrients, matter and energy in coastal areas where waves and currents dominate sediment transport. Biogeochemical sediment properties regulate sediment erodibility, but there is only limited knowledge of how temporal variability in environmental variables is reflected in the resuspension potential, especially for subtidal habitats. Further, the significance of resuspension on nutrient fluxes in coastal environments has remained unclear as contradicting results have been reported. Here we quantified the temporal variation in resuspension potential metrics (erosion threshold (τc; N m−2) and erosion constant (me; g N−1 s−1)) and associated nutrient fluxes from three sites in the Hanko archipelago (Finland) using a core-based erosion device (EROMES). The sites were sampled bi-monthly from April to December. We also quantified the temporal variation in biogeochemical sediment properties at each site. The τc exhibited the clearest temporal pattern in muddy sediment, where the coefficient of variation (= 67) was two to three times higher than the mixed (= 29) and sandy (= 16) sediments. Dry bulk density was the best predictor for sediment erodibility at all sites explaining 26–46% of the temporal variation in τc despite its limited variability at sandier sites. In addition, temporal variations in the macrofaunal community were important predictors of muddy sediment erodibility and therefore community dynamics need to be considered in sediment transport studies. All sites were potential nutrient sources, yet the overall role of sediment resuspension on nutrient release from the sediments was small.
  • Jager, Henriette I; Novello, Rebecca; Dale, Virginia; Villnäs, Anna; Rose, Kenneth (2018)
    Coastal hypoxia is increasing worldwide in response to human‐caused changes in global climate and biogeochemical cycles. In this paper, we view anthropogenic trends in coastal hypoxia through the lens of disturbance ecology and complexity theory. Complexity theory provides a framework for describing how estuaries and other coastal aquatic ecosystems respond to hypoxia by understanding feedback loops. Can it also be valuable in understanding how these ecosystems behave under shifting (i.e., unnatural) disturbance regimes? When viewed as a disturbance regime, shifts in the spatial (areal extent and fragmentation) and temporal (frequency and duration of events) characteristics of coastal hypoxia can be used to track changes into a non‐stationary future. Here, we consider options for increasing the resilience of coastal aquatic ecosystems to future, unnatural hypoxic regimes. To start, we define desirable states as ecosystems with long trophic chains and slow nutrient and carbon dynamics that produce many ecosystem services. We then work backward to describe circumstances dominated by positive feedbacks that can lead ecosystems toward an undesirable state (i.e., depauperate communities and chemically reduced sediments). Processes of degradation and recovery can be understood in the context of island biogeography whereby species diversity in habitats fragmented by hypoxia is determined by the balance between rapid local extinction, slow recolonization from the edges of hypoxic patches, and opportunities for ecological succession during between disturbance events. We review potential future changes associated with changing global climate and highlight ways to enhance coastal resilience. In addition to efforts to slow climate change, potential interventions include reduced nutrient and carbon loadings from rivers, restoration of aquatic vegetation, and managing for key species, including those that promote sediment oxygenation, that enhance water clarity, or that promote grazing on epiphytic algae through top‐down control.