Browsing by Subject "soft sediments"

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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.