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Title: Influence of benthic macroinvertebrates on the erodability of estuarine cohesive sediments: Density- and biomass-specific responses
Authors: Kristensen, Erik 
Neto, João Magalhães 
Lundkvist, Morten 
Frederiksen, Lars 
Pardal, Miguel Ângelo 
Valdemarsen, Thomas 
Flindt, Mogens Rene 
Keywords: Erosion threshold; Erosion rate; Behaviour; Macrofauna feeding; Microphytobenthos; Biostabilization
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Elsevier Ltd.
Serial title, monograph or event: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Volume: 134
Abstract: The impact of three dominating benthic invertebrates on sediment stability and erosion conditions of cohesive sediments in the Mondego Estuary, Portugal, was examined in laboratory annular flume experiments. The purpose was to test how the life habits and body size of the three involved species (Hydrobia ulvae, Nereis diversicolor and Scrobicularia plana) in terms of density or biomass influence sediment erosion. All three species decreased the free-stream erosion threshold (uc) and increased erosion rate (E), since their feeding activities diminished the surface stabilizing effect of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) produced by microphytobenthos. S. plana had the highest and H. ulvae the lowest impact when related to density (factor of 29 for uc and factor of 19 for E), while H. ulvae was more important than S. plana when related to biomass (factor of 4 for uc and factor of 6 for E). N. diversicolor had intermediate density-specific (4e6 times higher than H. ulvae) and lowest biomass-specific (2e3 times lower than S. plana) effects on erosion. It appears that faunal erosion impacts preferably should be reported in biomass units for comparative purposes because individual behavioural effects of a smallbodied species like H. ulvae functionally can be relatively more important than those of a 100 times heavier S. plana individual. This is clearly evidenced from the strongly diminished response in suspended Chlorophyll-a content in the presence of the former than the latter species, which is caused by an efficient microphytobenthos grazing by H. ulvae. It is also important to emphasize that the total faunal impact on erosion threshold in a certain area is dictated by combination of contributions from individual species. The total outcome is unpredictable and controlled by synergistic and antagonistic speciesspecific effects, species interactions as well as environmental and sediment conditions.
ISSN: 0272-7714
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:FCTUC Ciências da Vida - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais

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