Browsing by Subject "MYTILUS-EDULIS"

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  • Rodil, I. F.; Attard, K. M.; Norkko, J.; Glud, R. N.; Norkko, A. (2020)
    A central goal of benthic ecology is to describe the pathways and quantities of energy and material flow in seafloor communities over different spatial and temporal scales. We examined the relative macrobenthic contribution to the seafloor metabolism by estimating respiration and secondary production based on seasonal measurements of macrofauna biomass across key coastal habitats of the Baltic Sea archipelago. Then, we compared the macrofauna estimates with estimates of overall seafloor gross primary production and respiration obtained from the same habitats using the aquatic eddy covariance technique. Estimates of macrobenthic respiration rates suggest habitat-specific macrofauna contribution (%) to the overall seafloor respiration ranked as follows: blue mussel reef (44.5) > seagrass meadow (25.6) > mixed meadow (24.1) > bare sand (17.8) > Fucus-bed (11.1). In terms of secondary production (g C m−2 y−1), our estimates suggest ranking of habitat value as follows: blue mussel reef (493.4) > seagrass meadow (278.5) > Fucus-bed (102.2) > mixed meadow (94.2) > bare sand (52.1). Our results suggest that approximately 12 and 10% of the overall soft-sediment metabolism translated into macrofauna respiration and secondary production, respectively. The hard-bottoms exemplified two end-points of the coastal metabolism, with the Fucus-bed as a high producer and active exporter of organic C (that is, net autotrophy), and the mussel reef as a high consumer and active recycler of organic C (that is, net heterotrophy). Using a combination of metrics of ecosystem functioning, such as respiration rates and secondary production, in combination with direct habitat-scale measurements of O2 fluxes, our study provides a quantitative assessment of the role of macrofauna for ecosystem functioning across heterogeneous coastal seascapes.
  • Westerbom, Mats; Kraufvelin, Patrik; Mustonen, Olli; Diaz, Eliecer (2021)
    Advancing our understanding of how environmental variability affects the distribution of organisms is crucial for ecology and conservation. The exploration of changes in demographic patterns close to species distribution margins is important as populations here may provide a window into future population changes also elsewhere. However, the knowledge of factors causing recruitment variation is still inadequate in many systems and this deficiency is particularly evident close to species' distribution borders. We studied the spatiotemporal variability in recruit-adult dynamics in a blue mussel, Mytilus trossulus, population to get insights into how environmental variables drive variation in recruitment and how this variability affects adult population growth. Thirty sites along a wave exposure gradient were monitored during four consecutive years. From each site, mussels were collected both from artificial recruitment units and from natural mussel beds. Our results showed high year-to-year variation in recruitment strength with high spatial variation. Mussel recruitment to artificial units and later recruitment to the benthos correlated highly. Juvenile abundances 1 year later paralleled prior recruitment strengths and caused synchronous but time-lagged changes in adult cohorts. Seawater salinity was the strongest predictor for recruitment variation, whereas sea temperature and wave exposure had low predictive power for this early life stage. For juveniles and for adults in the benthos, wave exposure explained the variation best, whereas temperature and especially salinity explained less. The results indicate that (a) the studied blue mussel population is strongly driven by variation in recruitment strength that (b) drives the size of the later cohorts, and the population is possibly even (c) recruitment limited in some years. Our study predicts a challenging future for this range population, resulting from a higher frequency of recruitment failure caused by a deteriorating sea climate. Knowledge about factors underlying variation in recruitment is thus essential for forecasting the future of this range population and for conserving its future state.
  • 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.
  • Westerbom, Mats; Lappalainen, Antti; Mustonen, Olli; Norkko, Alf (2018)
    Climate change is predicted to cause a freshening of the Baltic Sea, facilitating range expansions of freshwater species and contractions of marine. Resident marine flounders (Platichthys flesus) and expansive freshwater roach (Rutilus rutilus) are dominant consumers in the Baltic Sea sublittoral where they occur in partial sympatry. By comparing patterns of resource use by flounders and roach along a declining resource gradient of blue mussels (Mytilus trossulus) our aim was to explore predator functional responses and the degree of trophic overlap. Understanding the nature of density-dependent prey acquisition has important implications for predicting population dynamics of both predators and their shared prey. Results showed a highly specialized diet for both species, high reliance on blue mussels throughout the range, similar prey size preference and high trophic overlap. Highest overlap occurred where blue mussels were abundant but overlap was also high where they were scarce. Our results highlight the importance of a single food item - the blue mussel - for both species, likely promoting high population size and range expansion of roach. Findings also suggest that range expansion of roach may have a top-down structuring force on mussels that differ in severity and location from that originating from resident flounders.