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Open AccessArticle

Effect of Species Invasion on Transport of Solutes at Different Levels of Soft Sediment Macrofauna Diversity: Results from an Experimental Approach

Marine Research Institute, Klaipeda University, 92294 Klaipeda, Lithuania
Department of Marine Biology, Institute for Biosciences, University of Rostock, 18059 Rostock, Germany
Department of Biological Oceanography, Warnemuende, Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research, 18119 Rostock, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(8), 1544;
Received: 18 June 2019 / Revised: 13 July 2019 / Accepted: 22 July 2019 / Published: 25 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Macrobiota in Aquatic Nutrient Cycling)
Different irrigation or ventilation strategies by macrofauna may provide a competitive advantage to tolerant species invading impacted benthic systems and alter benthic-pelagic coupling. To comparatively analyze the effects of an exotic and a native polychaete burrower on sediment-water exchanges, two laboratory experiments were performed. In the first experiment, the invasive spionid polychaete Marenzelleria neglecta was added to defaunated sediments and fluxes of the inert tracer (bromide, Br) were measured to quantify the effects of irrigation by the worm on the tracer transport. In the second experiment, M. neglecta or the native polychaete Hediste diversicolor were introduced to a relatively diverse Baltic soft-bottom macrofauna community. The effect of species on fluxes of reactive solutes (ammonium, NH4+, and phosphate, PO43−) and transport rates of Br was estimated. The results indicate different invasion effects depending on the characteristics of the recipient habitat. In defaunated sediments, a single specimen of M. neglecta significantly enhanced originally low solute exchange rates. Total tracer flux was significantly enhanced over diffusive flux by a factor of 1.6 ± 0.14 (n = 3). In natural sediments, on the other hand, the addition of either M. neglecta or H. diversicolor had no statistically significant effects on benthic fluxes. Tracer flux estimates between control and treatment incubations differed by less than 10% on average, and both reactive solutes tended to increase by 10 to 40% after additions. One specimen of M. neglecta in cores with defaunated sediment generated approximately 20% of the tracer flux produced by the relatively diverse macrofauna community. Estimated net tracer fluxes in two experiments corresponded well with the number of adult polychaetes found in sediments (r2 = 0.73, p = 0.005, n = 12). The invasive M. neglecta produced a small effect on fluxes in biodiverse sediments, comparable to those of H. diversicolor, but it may deeply alter porewater chemistry in azoic sediment. As M. neglecta tolerates chemically reduced and sulphidic conditions, its bioirigation may favor sediment reoxidation and ultimately the recolonization by less tolerant, native species. View Full-Text
Keywords: Marenzelleria neglecta; Hediste diversicolor; benthic fluxes; sediment–water interaction Marenzelleria neglecta; Hediste diversicolor; benthic fluxes; sediment–water interaction
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Daunys, D.; Forster, S.; Schiedek, D.; Olenin, S.; Zettler, M.L. Effect of Species Invasion on Transport of Solutes at Different Levels of Soft Sediment Macrofauna Diversity: Results from an Experimental Approach. Water 2019, 11, 1544.

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