Special Issue "The Role of Macrobiota in Aquatic Nutrient Cycling"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Quality and Ecosystems".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 November 2019.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Paul Bukaveckas
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biology and Center for Environmental Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University, USA
Interests: hydrology; underwater optics; phytoplankton physiology; algal blooms; nutrient cycling; consumer energetics
Prof. Marco Bartoli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Chemistry, Life Sciences and Environmental Sustainability, University of Parma, Parma, Italy
Interests: nutrients; sediments; benthic biodiversity; macrofauna; macrophytes; ecosystem functioning

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The combined action of macrofauna, inclusive of fish, macrophytes, and birds, is an important driver of aquatic nutrient cycling. Fish and birds supply and translocate nutrients via direct (excretion) and indirect pathways (bioturbation, sediment resuspension, predation) at rates comparable to other nutrient sources. Consumer-mediated recycling may support a large fraction of the nutrient requirements by primary producers thereby offsetting management efforts to mitigate eutrophication. Fish and birds also alter the relative availability and ecological stoichiometry of nitrogen, silica and phosphorus, with cascade effects on species composition and ecosystem functioning. Macrophytes retain nutrients in biomass via uptake processes and favor their burial and long term retention within sediments. Rooted macrophytes produce a number of indirect effects on pore water nutrients, by stimulating via radial oxygen loss biogeochemical processes such as coupled nitrification-denitrification or precipitation. The effects of fish, birds and macrophytes on aquatic nutrient cycling is a complex issue, as it involves multiple feedbacks and synergistic interactions, often understudied. These effects likely vary along environmental gradients, such as nutrient and organic matter availability, salinity and ecosystem size. This Special Issue targets contributions focusing on the effects of macrofauna, on nutrient cycling with the goal of providing a more comprehensive understanding of their importance among diverse aquatic systems.

Prof. Paul Bukaveckas
Prof. Marco Bartoli
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Nitrogen
  • Silica
  • Phosphorus
  • Ecological stoichiometry
  • Biogeochemical cycles
  • Macrofauna
  • Macrophytes
  • Fish
  • Birds
  • Inland aquatic ecosystems functioning

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Direct and Indirect Impacts of Fish on Crustacean Zooplankton in Experimental Mesocosms
Water 2019, 11(10), 2090; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11102090 - 07 Oct 2019
Abstract
Understanding the factors that regulate phytoplankton and zooplankton is an important goal of aquatic ecologists; however, much remains unknown because of complex interactions between phytoplankton, zooplankton, and fish. Zooplankton, in particular cladocerans, can be regulated by bottom–up factors either via food quantity or [...] Read more.
Understanding the factors that regulate phytoplankton and zooplankton is an important goal of aquatic ecologists; however, much remains unknown because of complex interactions between phytoplankton, zooplankton, and fish. Zooplankton, in particular cladocerans, can be regulated by bottom–up factors either via food quantity or food quality in terms of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) or phosphorus (P) contents in phytoplankton. Fish can recycle nutrients and in turn change the PUFA and P contents of algal resources, thus modifying bottom–up regulation. Furthermore, fish can change phytoplankton structure through consumption of cladocerans which selectively graze phytoplankton. We conducted a mesocosm (300 L) experiment to determine how trophic state and fish affected crustacean dynamics. The mesocosms were filled with water containing natural plankton from the eutrophic Lake Jorzec and mesotrophic Lake Majcz (Northeastern Poland), and we manipulated fish presence/absence. We also conducted a complementary life-table experiment to determine how trophic state and fish nonconsumptively affected demographic parameters of the dominant cladocerans in the mesocosms. Small and large cladoceran species responded differently to food quantity and quality. Small-bodied Ceriodaphnia were regulated mainly by resource concentrations (i.e., food quantity), while large species were limited by PUFAs (i.e., food quality). Fish likely increased food quality in terms of PUFA, primarily eicosapentaenoic acids (EPA), thus providing conditions for more successful development of Daphnia than in the fish-free treatments. Phosphorus in the seston was likely limiting for zooplankton. However, food quality in terms of phosphorus was likely less important than PUFA because zooplankton can accumulate nutrients in their body. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Macrobiota in Aquatic Nutrient Cycling)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Chironomid Larvae on Nitrogen Cycling and Microbial Communities in Soft Sediments
Water 2019, 11(9), 1931; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11091931 - 16 Sep 2019
Abstract
The combination of biogeochemical methods and molecular techniques has the potential to uncover the black-box of the nitrogen (N) cycle in bioturbated sediments. Advanced biogeochemical methods allow the quantification of the process rates of different microbial processes, whereas molecular tools allow the analysis [...] Read more.
The combination of biogeochemical methods and molecular techniques has the potential to uncover the black-box of the nitrogen (N) cycle in bioturbated sediments. Advanced biogeochemical methods allow the quantification of the process rates of different microbial processes, whereas molecular tools allow the analysis of microbial diversity (16S rRNA metabarcoding) and activity (marker genes and transcripts) in biogeochemical hot-spots such as the burrow wall or macrofauna guts. By combining biogeochemical and molecular techniques, we analyzed the role of tube-dwelling Chironomus plumosus (Insecta, Diptera) larvae on nitrification and nitrate reduction processes in a laboratory experiment with reconstructed sediments. We hypothesized that chironomid larvae stimulate these processes and host bacteria actively involved in N-cycling. Our results suggest that chironomid larvae significantly enhance the recycling of ammonium (80.5 ± 48.7 µmol m−2 h−1) and the production of dinitrogen (420.2 ± 21.4 µmol m−2 h−1) via coupled nitrification–denitrification and the consumption of water column nitrates. Besides creating oxygen microniches in ammonium-rich subsurface sediments via burrow digging and ventilation, chironomid larvae serve as hot-spots of microbial communities involved in N-cycling. The quantification of functional genes showed a significantly higher potential for microbial denitrification and nitrate ammonification in larvae as compared to surrounding sediments. Future studies may further scrutinize N transformation rates associated with intimate macrofaunal–bacteria associations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Macrobiota in Aquatic Nutrient Cycling)
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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
Water 2019, 11(8), 1544; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11081544 - 25 Jul 2019
Abstract
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Macrobiota in Aquatic Nutrient Cycling)
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Open AccessArticle
Estuarine Macrofauna Affects Benthic Biogeochemistry in a Hypertrophic Lagoon
Water 2019, 11(6), 1186; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11061186 - 07 Jun 2019
Abstract
Coastal lagoons display a wide range of physico-chemical conditions that shape benthic macrofauna communities. In turn, benthic macrofauna affects a wide array of biogeochemical processes as a consequence of feeding, bioirrigation, ventilation, and excretion activities. In this work, we have measured benthic respiration [...] Read more.
Coastal lagoons display a wide range of physico-chemical conditions that shape benthic macrofauna communities. In turn, benthic macrofauna affects a wide array of biogeochemical processes as a consequence of feeding, bioirrigation, ventilation, and excretion activities. In this work, we have measured benthic respiration and solute fluxes in intact sediment cores with natural macrofauna communities collected from four distinct areas within the Sacca di Goro Lagoon (NE Adriatic Sea). The macrofauna community was characterized at the end of the incubations. Redundancy analysis (RDA) was used to quantify and test the interactions between the dominant macrofauna species and solute fluxes. Moreover, the relevance of macrofauna as driver of benthic nitrogen (N) redundancy analysis revealed that up to 66% of the benthic fluxes and metabolism variance was explained by macrofauna microbial-mediated N processes. Nitrification was stimulated by the presence of shallow (corophiids) in combination with deep burrowers (spionids, oligochaetes) or ammonium-excreting clams. Deep burrowers and clams increase ammonium availability in burrows actively ventilated by corophiids, which creates optimal conditions to nitrifiers. However, the stimulatory effect of burrowing macrofauna on nitrification does not necessarily result in higher denitrification as processes are spatially separated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Macrobiota in Aquatic Nutrient Cycling)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Drying and Re-Wetting on Litter Decomposition and Nutrient Recycling: A Manipulative Experiment
Water 2019, 11(4), 708; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11040708 - 05 Apr 2019
Abstract
Climate change and water abstraction may change stream flow from perennial into intermittent lotic systems, modifying their abiotic and biotic benthic environment and impacting ecosystem processes such as nutrient turnover. We conducted a microcosm experiment to investigate the interactive effect of water intermittency, [...] Read more.
Climate change and water abstraction may change stream flow from perennial into intermittent lotic systems, modifying their abiotic and biotic benthic environment and impacting ecosystem processes such as nutrient turnover. We conducted a microcosm experiment to investigate the interactive effect of water intermittency, macrofauna and leaf size (Populus nigra leaves) on nutrient mineralization and recycling. Leaf disks (1 or 5 cm diameter) were incubated for 40 days with or without the leaf-consumer, Potamophylax cingulatus larvae (Trichoptera, Limnephilidae) and with or without an intervening, 10-days simulation of stream drying and subsequent rewetting. Nutrient fluxes, residual leaf biomass and leaf elemental composition were measured to evaluate how intermittency, macrofauna and leaf size affect organic matter mineralization rates and stoichiometry. Results suggest that drying slows decomposition rates, impacting both the microbial and setting to zero macrofauna activities. The presence of macrofauna increases mineralization and nutrient (C, N and P) regeneration rates. Our findings also suggest that leaf disks with higher diameter display higher microbial activity and NH4+ regeneration. During the experiment, the C:N:P ratios of residual litter changed, as the leaf material became enriched with N and P. Our study suggests that increasingly frequent dry events might slow mineralization rates and downstream nutrient transport. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Macrobiota in Aquatic Nutrient Cycling)
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Open AccessArticle
Contrasting Effects of an Alien Worm on Benthic N Cycling in Muddy and Sandy Sediments
Water 2019, 11(3), 465; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11030465 - 05 Mar 2019
Abstract
The North American oligochaete Sparganophilus tamesis is widespread in European freshwaters. Its ecological effects on benthic nitrogen (N) biogeochemistry were studied in two contrasting environments: the organic-rich muddy sediments of the eutrophic Mincio River (Italy) and the organic-poor sandy sediments of the oligotrophic [...] Read more.
The North American oligochaete Sparganophilus tamesis is widespread in European freshwaters. Its ecological effects on benthic nitrogen (N) biogeochemistry were studied in two contrasting environments: the organic-rich muddy sediments of the eutrophic Mincio River (Italy) and the organic-poor sandy sediments of the oligotrophic Cazaux-Sanguinet Lake (France). Oxygen and inorganic N fluxes and denitrification rates (IPT) were measured by dark incubation of intact cores with different worm biomass. Sediment oxygen demand and denitrification were higher in muddy than in sandy sediments; however, at the two sites, bioturbation by the oligochaetes stimulated differing microbial O2 and NO3 respiration and NH4+ production. In particular, the relative effect of S. tamesis on sediment metabolism was greater in Cazaux-Sanguinet Lake than in the Mincio River. As a result, S. tamesis favored net N loss in the Mincio River, whereas it increased NH4+ recycling and lowered denitrification efficiency in the Cazaux-Sanguinet Lake. Our results suggest that the effects of S. tamesis on N biogeochemistry might differ depending on local trophic settings. These results have implications for the conservation of isoetids in the French Lake, whose persistence can be menaced by oligochaete-induced nutrient mobilization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Macrobiota in Aquatic Nutrient Cycling)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Macrofauna and Aquatic nutrient Cycles

Authors and Article Type: Milardi M. et al. from Ferrara University (Italy), review paper

 

Title: Effect of Aquatic Vegetation on Nutrient Cycles

Authors and Article Type: Soana E. et al. from Ferrara University (Italy), review paper

 

Title: Bioturbation of Lamprey Larvae in Riverine Sediments

Authors and Article Type: Nika N. et al. from Klaipeda University (Lithuania), research paper

 

Title: Benthic Biodiversity of Macrofauna and Estuarine Functioning

Authors and Article Type: Politi T. et al. from Klaipeda University (Lithuania), research paper

 

Title: Do Bird Colonies Enhance the Risk of Cyanobacterial Blooms in Eutrophic Lagoons?

Authors and Article Type: Petkuviene J. et al. from Klaipeda University (Lithuania), review paper

 

Title: Bioturbation of Native and Invasive Worms and Implications for the N Recycling and N Loss via Denitrification

Authors and Article Type: Moraes P. et al. from University of Sao Paulo (Brazil), research paper

 

Title: Control of Vegetation in Hypertrophic Pond and Implication for Benthic Functioning

Authors and Article Type: Longhi D. et al. from University of Parma (Italy), research paper

 

Title: Combined Effects of Macrofauna, Drought and Litter Size on Decomposition in Intermittent Rivers

Authors and Article Type: Palmia B. et al. from University of Parma (Italy), research paper

 

Title: Effect of Surface and Deep Burrowers Bioturbation on Benthic Respiration and Nutrient cycling

Authors and Article Type: Benelli S. et al. from University of Parma (Italy), research paper

 

Title: Macrophytes and Burrowing Fauna Decrease Methane Ebullition in Organic-rich Freshwater Sediments

Authors and Article Type: Bartoli M. et al. from University of Parma (Italy), research paper
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