Browsing by Subject "NUTRIENT ENRICHMENT"

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  • Baden, Susanne; Fredriksen, Stein; Christie, Hartvig; Eriander, Louise; Gustafsson, Camilla; Holmer, Marianne; Olesen, Birgit; Thormar, Jonas; Bostrom, Christoffer (2022)
    We conducted a short-term field sampling complemented with time integrating stable isotope analysis to holistically investigate status and ecological interactions in a remote NE Atlantic Zostera marina meadow. We found high nutrient water concentrations, large biomass of fast-growing, ephemeral macroalgae, low abundance, and biodiversity of epifauna and a food web with thornback ray (Raja clavata) as intermediate and cod (Gadus morhua) as top predator. We observed no variation with increasing depth (3.5-11 m) except for decreasing shoot density and biomass of Zostera and macroalgae. Our results indicate that the Finnoya Zostera ecosystem is eutrophicated. During the past three to four decades, nutrients from aquaculture have steadily increased to reach 75% of anthmpogenic input while the coastal top predator cod has decreased by 50%. We conclude that bottom-up regulation is a predominant driver of change since top-down regulation is generally weak in low density and exposed Zostera ecosystems such as Finnoya.
  • Barboza, Francisco R.; Kotta, Jonne; Weinberger, Florian; Jormalainen, Veijo; Kraufvelin, Patrik; Molis, Markus; Schubert, Hendrik; Pavia, Henrik; Nylund, Goran M.; Kautsky, Lena; Schagerstrom, Ellen; Rickert, Esther; Saha, Mahasweta; Fredriksen, Stein; Martin, Georg; Torn, Kaire; Ruuskanen, Ari; Wahl, Martin (2019)
    In the course of the ongoing global intensification and diversification of human pressures, the study of variation patterns of biological traits along environmental gradients can provide relevant information on the performance of species under shifting conditions. The pronounced salinity gradient, co-occurrence of multiple stressors, and accelerated rates of change make the Baltic Sea and its transition to North Sea a suitable region for this type of study. Focusing on the bladderwrack Fucus vesiculosus, one of the main foundation species on hard-bottoms of the Baltic Sea, we analyzed the phenotypic variation among populations occurring along 2,000 km of coasts subjected to salinities from 4 to >30 and a variety of other stressors. Morphological and biochemical traits, including palatability for grazers, were recorded at 20 stations along the Baltic Sea and four stations in the North Sea. We evaluated in a common modeling framework the relative contribution of multiple environmental drivers to the observed trait patterns. Salinity was the main and, in some cases, the only environmental driver of the geographic trait variation in F. vesiculosus. The decrease in salinity from North Sea to Baltic Sea stations was accompanied by a decline in thallus size, photosynthetic pigments, and energy storage compounds, and affected the interaction of the alga with herbivores and epibiota. For some traits, drivers that vary locally such as wave exposure, light availability or nutrient enrichment were also important. The strong genetic population structure in this macroalgae might play a role in the generation and maintenance of phenotypic patterns across geographic scales. In light of our results, the desalination process projected for the Baltic Sea could have detrimental impacts on F. vesiculosus in areas close to its tolerance limit, affecting ecosystem functions such as habitat formation, primary production, and food supply.
  • El-Khaled, Yusuf C.; Nafeh, Rassil; Roth, Florian; Rädecker, Nils; Karcher, Denis B.; Jones, Burton H.; Voolstra, Christian R.; Wild, Christian (2021)
    Nitrogen cycling in coral reefs may be affected by nutrient availability, but knowledge about concentrationdependent thresholds that modulate dinitrogen fixation and denitrification is missing. We determined the effects of different nitrate concentrations (ambient, 1, 5, 10 mu M nitrate addition) on both processes under two light scenarios (i.e., light and dark) using a combined acetylene assay for two common benthic reef substrates, i.e., turf algae and coral rubble. For both substrates, dinitrogen fixation rates peaked at 5 mu M nitrate addition in light, whereas denitrification was highest at 10 mu M nitrate addition in the dark. At 10 mu m nitrate addition in the dark, a near-complete collapse of dinitrogen fixation concurrent with a 76-fold increase in denitrification observed for coral rubble, suggesting potential threshold responses linked to the nutritional state of the community. We conclude that dynamic nitrogen cycling activity may help stabilise nitrogen availability in microbial communities associated with coral reef substrates.
  • Saarinen, Anne; Candolin, Ulrika (2020)
    Anthropogenic eutrophication is altering aquatic environments by promoting primary production. This influences the population dynamics of consumers through bottom-up effects, but the underlying mechanisms and pathways are not always clear. To evaluate and mitigate effects of eutrophication on ecological communities, more research is needed on the underlying factors. Here we show that anthropogenic eutrophication increases population fecundity in the threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) by increasing the number of times females reproduce-lifetime fecundity-rather than instantaneous fecundity. When we exposed females to nutrient-enriched waters with enhanced algal growth, their interspawning interval shortened but the size of their egg clutches, or the size of their eggs, did not change. The shortening of the interspawning interval was probably caused by higher food intake, as algae growth promotes the growth of preferred prey populations. Enhanced female lifetime fecundity could increase offspring production and, hence, influence population dynamics. In support of this, earlier studies show that more offspring are emerging in habitats with denser algae growth. Thus, our results stress the importance of considering lifetime fecundity, in addition to instantaneous fecundity, when investigating the impact of human-induced eutrophication on population processes. At a broader level, our results highlight the importance of following individuals over longer time spans when evaluating the pathways and processes through which environmental changes influence individual fitness and population processes.
  • Karcher, Denis B.; Roth, Florian; Carvalho, Susana; El-Khaled, Yusuf C.; Tilstra, Arjen; Kürten, Benjamin; Struck, Ulrich; Jones, Burton H.; Wild, Christian (2020)
    While various sources increasingly release nutrients to the Red Sea, knowledge about their effects on benthic coral reef communities is scarce. Here, we provide the first comparative assessment of the response of all major benthic groups (hard and soft corals, turf algae and reef sands-together accounting for 80% of the benthic reef community) to in-situ eutrophication in a central Red Sea coral reef. For 8 weeks, dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) concentrations were experimentally increased 3-fold above environmental background concentrations around natural benthic reef communities using a slow release fertilizer with 15% total nitrogen (N) content. We investigated which major functional groups took up the available N, and how this changed organic carbon (C-org) and N contents using elemental and stable isotope measurements. Findings revealed that hard corals (in their tissue), soft corals and turf algae incorporated fertilizer N as indicated by significant increases in delta N-15 by 8%, 27% and 28%, respectively. Among the investigated groups, C-org content significantly increased in sediments (+24%) and in turf algae (+33%). Altogether, this suggests that among the benthic organisms only turf algae were limited by N availability and thus benefited most from N addition. Thereby, based on higher C-org content, turf algae potentially gained competitive advantage over, for example, hard corals. Local management should, thus, particularly address DIN eutrophication by coastal development and consider the role of turf algae as potential bioindicator for eutrophication.
  • El-Khaled, Yusuf C.; Roth, Florian; Rädecker, Nils; Tilstra, Arjen; Karcher, Denis B.; Kurten, Benjamin; Jones, Burton H.; Voolstra, Christian R.; Wild, Christian (2021)
    Coral reefs experience phase shifts from coral- to algae-dominated benthic communities, which could affect the interplay between processes introducing and removing bioavailable nitrogen. However, the magnitude of such processes, i.e., dinitrogen (N-2) fixation and denitrification levels, and their responses to phase shifts remain unknown in coral reefs. We assessed both processes for the dominant species of six benthic categories (hard corals, soft corals, turf algae, coral rubble, biogenic rock, and reef sands) accounting for>98% of the benthic cover of a central Red Sea coral reef. Rates were extrapolated to the relative benthic cover of the studied organisms in co-occurring coral- and algae-dominated areas of the same reef. In general, benthic categories with high N-2 fixation exhibited low denitrification activity. Extrapolated to the respective reef area, turf algae and coral rubble accounted for>90% of overall N-2 fixation, whereas corals contributed to more than half of reef denitrification. Total N-2 fixation was twice as high in algae- compared to coral-dominated areas, whereas denitrification levels were similar. We conclude that algae-dominated reefs promote new nitrogen input through enhanced N-2 fixation and comparatively low denitrification. The subsequent increased nitrogen availability could support net productivity, resulting in a positive feedback loop that increases the competitive advantage of algae over corals in reefs that experienced a phase shift.
  • Tilstra, Arjen; Roth, Florian; El-Khaled, Yusuf C.; Pogoreutz, Claudia; Raedecker, Nils; Voolstra, Christian R.; Wild, Christian (2021)
    Recent research suggests that nitrogen (N) cycling microbes are important for coral holobiont functioning. In particular, coral holobionts may acquire bioavailable N via prokaryotic dinitrogen (N-2) fixation or remove excess N via denitrification activity. However, our understanding of environmental drivers on these processes in hospite remains limited. Employing the strong seasonality of the central Red Sea, this study assessed the effects of environmental parameters on the proportional abundances of N cycling microbes associated with the hard corals Acropora hemprichii and Stylophora pistillata. Specifically, we quantified changes in the relative ratio between nirS and nifH gene copy numbers, as a proxy for seasonal shifts in denitrification and N-2 fixation potential in corals, respectively. In addition, we assessed coral tissue-associated Symbiodiniaceae cell densities and monitored environmental parameters to provide a holobiont and environmental context, respectively. While ratios of nirS to nifH gene copy numbers varied between seasons, they revealed similar seasonal patterns in both coral species, with ratios closely following patterns in environmental nitrate availability. Symbiodiniaceae cell densities aligned with environmental nitrate availability, suggesting that the seasonal shifts in nirS to nifH gene abundance ratios were probably driven by nitrate availability in the coral holobiont. Thereby, our results suggest that N cycling in coral holobionts probably adjusts to environmental conditions by increasing and/or decreasing denitrification and N-2 fixation potential according to environmental nitrate availability. Microbial N cycling may, thus, extenuate the effects of changes in environmental nitrate availability on coral holobionts to support the maintenance of the coral-Symbiodiniaceae symbiosis.