Browsing by Subject "Bioturbation"

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  • Coppock, Rachel L.; Lindeque, Penelope K.; Cole, Matthew; Galloway, Tamara S.; Nakki, Pinja; Birgani, Hannah; Richards, Saskiya; Queiros, Ana M. (2021)
    Microplastics are ubiquitous in the marine environment, however, the mechanisms governing their uptake by, and burial within, seabed habitats are poorly understood. In this study, microplastic burial and its impact on fauna-mediated sedimentary processes was quantified at three coastal sites, and the potential contribution of burrowing faunal communities to this process assessed via functional trait diversity analysis of field data. In addition, laboratory exposures were used to assess whether sediment-processing undertaken by the brittlestar Amphiura filiformis, a key species in the sampled area, could explain the burial of microplastic fibres. Field observations confirmed broad-scale burial of microplastics across the coastal seabed, consistent across sites and seasons, with microplastic sequestration linked to benthic-pelagic exchange pathways, driven by burrowing fauna. Brittlestars were observed to bury and line their burrow walls with microfibres during experiments, and their burial activity was also modified following exposure to nylon fibres, relative to controls. Collectively, these results indicate that biodiverse and functionally important seabed habitats act as microplastic sinks, with burrowing fauna contributing to this process via well-known benthic-pelagic pathways, the rates of which are modified by plastic exposure.
  • 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.
  • Bernard, Guillaume; Gammal, Johanna; Järnström, Marie; Norkko, Joanna; Norkko, Alf (2019)
    Bioturbation by benthic macrofauna communities plays a significant role in the setting and maintenance of important ecosystem functions and the delivery of associated ecosystem services. We investigated the context-dependence of bioturbation performed by natural benthic communities in the coastal northern Baltic Sea by quantifying three bioturbation metrics (particle mixing intensity, surface sediment reworking and bioturbation depth) across 18 sites ranging from cohesive muddy sediments to non-cohesive coarse sands, while accounting for the complexity of natural communities and habitat characteristics. We identified two distinct patterns of bioturbation; in fine sediments bioturbation rates were highly variable and in coarse sediments bioturbation rates were less variable and characterized by lower maximal values. Using distance-based linear multiple regressions, we found that 75.5% of the variance in bioturbation rates in fine sediment could be explained by key functional groups/species abundance and/or biomass (i.e. biomass of the gallery-diffusors and abundances of biodiffusors, surface modifiers, conveyors and gallery diffusors, respectively). In coarse sediment, 47.8% of the variance in bioturbation rates could be explained by a combination of environmental factors (grain size, organic matter content, buried plant material) and faunal functional groups, although fauna alone explained only 13% of this variance. Bioturbation in fine sediments was therefore more predictable based on the composition of benthic fauna. In coarse sediment, the bioturbation activities of benthic fauna were strongly modified by habitat characteristics (including the presence of buried plant material, sediment organic content and grain size) whereas in fine sediments this was not the case. Our results therefore highlight that variability in spatial patterns of bioturbation is a result of complex relationships between macrofauna community structure, sediment type and other habitat characteristics, likely modifying bioturbation performance of individual fauna.
  • Näkki, Pinja; Setälä, Outi; Lehtiniemi, Maiju (2019)
    Microplastics (MPs) are ubiquitous in the marine environment. High concentrations of MPs are found from seafloor sediments, which have been proposed to act as their final sinks. Because bioturbation is an important process affecting the burial of MPs, a mesocosm experiment was established to study whether sediment infauna may also promote MP return to the sediment surface. Thin layers of frozen sediment containing an environmentally realistic concentration (500 μm and 100–300 μm) were added to depths of 2 cm and 5 cm in the experimental cylinders filled with sediment. The displacement of these MPs, made of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), by a community of common benthic invertebrates in the northern Baltic Sea (clam Limecola balthica, polychaete Marenzelleria spp., gammarid Monoporeia affinis) was studied in a 10-week experiment. After the experiment, the MPs were extracted from each sediment layer and the animals were examined for MP ingestion. The results indicated that the transportation of MPs to the sediment surface by bioturbation was negligible. Thus, in the Baltic Sea, the seafloor may act as a sink for once sedimented MPs, reducing simultaneously the MP exposure of the macrofauna feeding on the sediment surface.