Browsing by Subject "Seagrass"

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  • Angove, Charlotte; Norkko, Alf; Gustafsson, Camilla (2018)
    Aquatic plant meadows are valuable components to the 'coastal filter' and it is important to understand the processes that drive their ability to cycle nutrients. However, at present, the field-based evidence for understanding the drivers of nutrient uptake by plants is lacking. This study aimed to investigate how well individual shoots of aquatic plants could meet their nitrogen demands using the sediment nutrient pool (porewater ammonium) and to explore which traits helped to facilitate such uptake. Several species were investigated in shallow, submerged (2-4 m) mixed-species communities in the northern Baltic Sea using incubation experiments with enriched ammonium. After a 3.5 h incubation time, individuals were collected and analysed for nitrogen (% DW) and N-15 (at-%) concentrations. Uptake by plants was calculated per unit nitrogen in response to the N-15 labelled source and to overall nitrogen availability. Background porewater ammonium availability was highly variable between individual plants. Species identity did not significantly affect uptake metrics and the effect of ambient porewater availability was weak. As biomass increased there were significant logarithmic declines in the 95th quantiles of nutrient uptake rates, ambient porewater nutrient availability and aboveground nitrogen tissue concentrations (% DW). Such findings suggested that uptake rates of plants were significantly demand driven and the nutrient conditions of the porewater were significantly driven by the demands of the plant. Findings parameterised the unfulfilled potential for some aquatic plants to cycle nutrients more efficiently and highlighted the potential importance of access to new nutrient sources as a way of enhancing nutrient cycling by aquatic plants. Plant traits and community properties such as the activity of infauna could facilitate such an access and are likely important for nutrient uptake.
  • Meysick, Lukas; Ysebaert, Tom; Jansson, Anna; Montserrat, Fransesc; Valanko, Sebastian; Villnäs, Anna; Boström, Christoffer; Norkko, Joanna; Norkko, Alf (2019)
    Foundation species host diverse associated communities by ameliorating environmental stress. The strength of this facilitative effect can be highly dependent on the underlying biotic and abiotic context. We investigated community level patterns of macrofauna associated with and adjacent to the marine foundation species eelgrass (Zostera marina) along a hydrodynamic stress gradient. We could demonstrate that the relative importance of this foundation species for its infaunal community increases with environmental variables associated with increasing hydrodynamic stress (depth, sand ripples formation, sediment grain size and organic content). Faunal assemblages in proximity to the Zostera patch edges, however, showed no (infauna) or negative (epifauna) response to hydrodynamic stress. Our study highlights that the facilitative outcome of a foundation species is conditional to the faunal assemblage in question and can be highly variable even between positions within the habitat.
  • Camillini, Nicola; Attard, Karl M.; Eyre, Bradley D.; Glud, Ronnie N. (2021)
    Sediment resuspension is a common process in dynamic coastal settings, but its implications for remineralization and carbon turnover in seagrass meadows are poorly understood. Here, we assessed eelgrass Zostera marina metabolism in the Baltic Sea (SW Finland) using benthic flume-chambers and aquatic eddy covariance to critically evaluate the drivers of benthic O-2 exchange during dynamic flow conditions. During quiescent weather conditions, the 2 methods resolved similar metabolic rates and net ecosystem autotrophy (+/- 11% of each other). However, elevated flow speeds and sediment resuspension halfway through the study induced a 5-fold increase in the O-2 uptake rates measured by eddy covariance, whereas chamber fluxes remained relatively unchanged. Following particle resettlement, instruments were redeployed and the benthic O-2 uptake resolved by both techniques was just similar to 30% of the values measured before resuspension. Laboratory investigations revealed sediment resuspension could potentially increase benthic O-2 uptake up to 6-fold, mainly due to the reoxidation of reduced compounds (e.g. FeSx). This process was fully captured by the eddy O-2 fluxes, but not by the chamber incubation. Consequently, the chamber and eddy net ecosystem metabolism amounted to - 17 and -824 mmol C m(-2), respectively, throughout the study period. The rapid reoxidation and long-term effects of resuspension on benthic O-2 dynamics highlight the importance of fully capturing dynamic conditions when assessing the overall carbon turnover in coastal habitats. Future studies on the biogeochemical functioning of coastal environments should aim to capture the natural frequency and duration of resuspension events.
  • Asmala, Eero; Gustafsson, Camilla; Krause-Jensen, Dorte; Norkko, Alf; Reader, Heather; Staehr, Peter A.; Carstensen, Jacob (2019)
    Coastal ecosystems act as filters of nutrients from land to the open sea. We investigated the role of eelgrass (Zostera marina) metabolism in the coastal filter transforming nitrogen, phosphorus, and organic carbon. Field campaigns following identical methodologies were carried out at two contrasting coastal locations: the mesohaline and nutrient-rich Roskilde Fjord, Denmark, and the mesotrophic brackish Tvärminne archipelago, Finland. Over the 24-h in situ benthic incubations, we measured oxygen concentrations continuously and assessed changes in DOM characteristics and net fluxes of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus. Ecosystem metabolism modeled on the basis of the O2 data showed that the systems were either net heterotrophic (Roskilde Fjord; − 1.6 and − 2.4 g O2 m−2 day−1 in eelgrass meadow and bare sand, respectively) or had balanced primary production and respiration (Tvärminne; 0.0 and 0.2 g O2 m−2 day−1). Overall, initial nutrient stoichiometry was a key factor determining benthic–pelagic fluxes of nutrients, which exacerbated the deviations from Redfield ratios of N and P, indicating an efficient use of the limiting nutrient. A net diel uptake of dissolved inorganic N was observed at both locations (− 2.3 μmol l−1 day−1 in Roskilde Fjord and − 0.1 μmol l−1 day−1 in Tvärminne). Despite minor changes in dissolved organic carbon concentrations during the incubations, a marked increase of fluorescent DOM was observed at both locations, suggesting rapid heterotrophic processing of the DOM pool. Our results underline that the biogeochemical role of eelgrass in the coastal filter is not inherent, but strongly dependent on the environmental conditions.