Oxygen drives benthic-pelagic decomposition pathways in shallow wetlands.
ABSTRACT: Oxygen availability is perceived as an important environmental factor limiting POM decomposition. In shallow wetlands, however, the impact of commonly observed anoxic conditions in the benthic layer on the relative contribution of microbes and invertebrates to POM decomposition remains largely unknown. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine if dissolved oxygen drives benthic-pelagic decomposition pathways in shallow wetlands. Dissolved oxygen concentration, invertebrate community composition, microbial decomposition and invertebrate consumption were measured in the benthic and pelagic layer of 15 permanent drainage ditches. We showed that an increased duration of anoxic conditions in the benthic layer of the ditches was related to increased microbial decomposition in this layer, while invertebrate consumption decreased in the benthic layer and increased in the pelagic layer. The increased invertebrate consumption in the pelagic layer was related to the presence of amphipods. We concluded that anoxic conditions in the benthic layer of shallow wetlands relate to an increase in microbial decomposition and a decrease in invertebrate consumption, as detritivorous invertebrates move to the pelagic layer to consume particulate organic matter. This illustrates that environmental conditions, such as dissolved oxygen, may drive the relative importance of aquatic organisms to ecosystem functioning.
Project description:Human activities have resulted in rising temperatures and the introduction or extirpation of top predators worldwide. Both processes generate cascading impacts throughout food webs and can jeopardize important ecosystem services. We examined the impact of fish stocking on communities and ecosystems in California mountain lakes across an elevation (temperature and dissolved organic carbon) gradient to determine how trophic cascades and ecosystem function vary with climate. Here, we show that the impact of fish on the pelagic consumer-to-producer biomass ratio strengthened at low elevation, while invertebrate community composition and benthic ecosystem rates (periphyton production and litter decomposition) were most influenced by predators at high elevation. A warming climate may therefore alter the stability of lake ecosystems by shifting the strength of top-down control by introduced predators over food web structure and function.
Project description:Agricultural practices can result in differences in organic matter (OM) and agricultural chemical inputs in adjacent ditches, but its indirect effects on OM composition and its inherent consequences for ecosystem functioning remain uncertain. This study determined the effect of agricultural practices (dairy farm grasslands and hyacinth bulb fields) on OM degradation by microorganisms and invertebrates with a consumption and food preference experiment in the field and in the laboratory using natural OM collected from the field. Freshly cut grass and hyacinths were also offered to control for OM composition and large- and small mesh-sizes were used to distinguish microbial decomposition and invertebrate consumption. Results show that OM decomposition by microorganisms and consumption by invertebrates was similar throughout the study area, but that OM collected from ditches adjacent grasslands and freshly cut grass and hyacinths were preferred over OM collected from ditches adjacent to a hyacinth bulb field. In the case of OM collected from ditches adjacent hyacinth bulb fields, both microbial decomposition and invertebrate consumption were strongly retarded, likely resulting from sorption and accumulation of pesticides. This outcome illustrates that differences in agricultural practices can, in addition to direct detrimental effects on aquatic organisms, indirectly alter the functioning of adjacent aquatic ecosystems.
Project description:Many coastal marine systems have extensive areas with anoxic sediments and it is not well known how these conditions affect the benthic-pelagic coupling. Zooplankton lay their eggs in the pelagic zone, and some sink and lie dormant in the sediment, before hatched zooplankton return to the water column. In this study, we investigated how oxygenation of long-term anoxic sediments affects the hatching frequency of dormant zooplankton eggs. Anoxic sediments from the brackish Baltic Sea were sampled and incubated for 26 days with constant aeration whereby, the sediment surface and the overlying water were turned oxic. Newly hatched rotifers and copepod nauplii (juveniles) were observed after 5 and 8 days, respectively. Approximately 1.5 × 10(5) nauplii m(-2) emerged from sediment turned oxic compared with 0.02 × 10(5) m(-2) from controls maintained anoxic. This study demonstrated that re-oxygenation of anoxic sediments activated a large pool of buried zooplankton eggs, strengthening the benthic-pelagic coupling of the system. Modelling of the studied anoxic zone suggested that a substantial part of the pelagic copepod population can derive from hatching of dormant eggs. We suggest that this process should be included in future studies to understand population dynamics and carbon flows in marine pelagic systems.
Project description:Community structure and assembly are determined in part by environmental heterogeneity. While reef-building corals respond negatively to warming (i.e. bleaching events) and ocean acidification (OA), the extent of present-day natural variability in pH on shallow reefs and ecological consequences for benthic assemblages is unknown. We documented high resolution temporal patterns in temperature and pH from three reefs in the central Pacific and examined how these data relate to community development and net accretion rates of early successional benthic organisms. These reefs experienced substantial diel fluctuations in temperature (0.78°C) and pH (>0.2) similar to the magnitude of 'warming' and 'acidification' expected over the next century. Where daily pH within the benthic boundary layer failed to exceed pelagic climatological seasonal lows, net accretion was slower and fleshy, non-calcifying benthic organisms dominated space. Thus, key aspects of coral reef ecosystem structure and function are presently related to natural diurnal variability in pH.
Project description:Recently, numerous species of aquatic invertebrates inhabiting wetlands have been shown to possess endogenous cellulase, following the discovery that termites have cellulase genes encoded in their own genome rather than relying on symbiotic bacteria for decomposing cellulose. Wetlands have been empirically shown to play an important role in the decomposition of land-originating hard-to-degrade polysaccharides such as cellulose. However, the mechanism that connects the cellulase producer and the wetlands remains unknown, which makes it very difficult to evaluate the ecological function of wetlands. Here we found that a macrobenthic bivalve, Corbicula japonica, secretes its cellulase to the wetland sediment. Secreted cellulases are immobilized in the components of the sediment. Moreover, adding cellulose or glucose to C. japonica could trigger its cellulase secretion level. These findings suggest a novel wetland cellulose decomposition mechanism. The decomposition ability of wetlands was previously ascribed only to microbes and/or invertebrates that contain cellulases. Our findings suggest that benthic animals supply wetlands with their enzymes as decomposition agents, while wetland sediments serve as immobilization scaffolds for the enzymes. This system, which was named by us an "environmental bioreactor system," could provide a key function in wetlands.
Project description:Next to the benthic and pelagic compartments, the epiphyton of submerged macrophytes may offer an additional niche for ammonia-oxidizing bacteria in shallow freshwater lakes. In this study, we explored the potential activities and community compositions of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria of the epiphytic, benthic, and pelagic compartments of seven shallow freshwater lakes which differed in their trophic status, distribution of submerged macrophytes, and restoration history. PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analyses demonstrated that the epiphytic compartment was inhabited by species belonging to cluster 3 of the Nitrosospira lineage and to the Nitrosomonas oligotropha lineage. Both the ammonia-oxidizing bacterial community compositions and the potential activities differed significantly between compartments. Interestingly, both the ammonia-oxidizing bacterial community composition and potential activity were influenced by the restoration status of the different lakes investigated.
Project description:Understanding the links between foraging behaviour and habitat use of key species is essential to addressing fundamental questions about trophic interactions and ecosystem functioning. Eight female grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) were equipped with time-depth recorders linked to Fastloc GPS tags following the annual moult in southwest Ireland. Individual dives were coupled with environmental correlates to investigate the habitat use and dive behaviour of free-ranging seals. Dives were characterised as either pelagic, benthic, or shallow (where errors in location and charted water depth made differentiating between pelagic and benthic dives unreliable). Sixty-nine percent of dives occurring in water >50 m were benthic. Pelagic dives were more common at night than during the day. Seals performed more pelagic dives over fine sediments (mud/sand), and more benthic dives when foraging over more three-dimensionally complex rock substrates. We used Markov chain analysis to determine the probability of transiting between dive states. A low probability of repeat pelagic dives suggests that pelagic prey were encountered en route to the seabed. This approach could be applied to make more accurate predictions of habitat use in data-poor areas, and investigate contentious issues such as resource overlap and competition between top predators and fisheries, essential for the effective conservation of these key marine species.
Project description:The decomposition processes of accumulated cyanobacteria can release large amounts of organic carbon and affect the carbon cycling in shallow eutrophic lakes. However, the migration and transformation mechanisms of dissolved carbon (DC) require further study and discussion. In this study, a 73-day laboratory microcosm experiment using suction samplers (Rhizon and syringe) was conducted to understand the migration and transformation of DC during the cyanobacteria decomposition. The decomposition of cyanobacteria biomass caused anoxic and reduction conditions, and changed the acid-base environment in the water column. During the early incubation (days 0-18), a large amount of cyanobacteria-derived particulate organic matter (POM) was decomposed into dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in the overlying water, reaching the highest peak value of 1.82 g L-1 in the treatment added the high cyanobacteria biomass (470 g). After 18 days of incubation, the mineralization of increased DOC to dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) maintained a high DIC level of overlying water in treatments added cyanobacteria biomass. The treatment added the medium cyanobacteria biomass (235 g) presented the lower DOC/total dissolved carbon ratio than the high cyanobacteria biomass associated with the lower mineralization from DOC to DIC. Due to the concentration differences of DIC at water-sediment interface, the main migration of DIC from pore water to overlying water occurred in the treatment without added cyanobacteria biomass. However, the treatments added the cyanobacteria biomass presented the obvious diffusion of DOC and the low migration of DIC at the water-sediment interface. The diffusive fluxes of DOC at the water-sediment interface increased with the cyanobacteria biomass added, reaching the maximum value of 411.01 mg/(m2·d) in the treatment added the high cyanobacteria biomass. In the overlying water, the group added the sediment and medium cyanobacteria biomass presented a faster degradation of cyanobacteria-derived POM to DOC and a higher mineralization level of DOC to DIC than added the medium cyanobacteria biomass without sediment. Therefore, during accumulated cyanobacteria decomposition, the biomass of accumulated cyanobacteria and sediment property can influence the migration and transformation of DC, playing an important role in carbon cycling in shallow eutrophic lakes.
Project description:In addition to the benthic and pelagic habitats, the epiphytic compartment of submerged macrophytes in shallow freshwater lakes offers a niche to bacterial ammonia-oxidizing communities. However, the diversity, numbers, and activity of epiphytic ammonia-oxidizing bacteria have long been overlooked. In the present study, we analyzed quantitatively the epiphytic communities of three shallow lakes by a potential nitrification assay and by quantitative PCR of 16S rRNA genes. On the basis of the m(2) of the lake surface, the gene copy numbers of epiphytic ammonia oxidizers were not significantly different from those in the benthic and pelagic compartments. The potential ammonia-oxidizing activities measured in the epiphytic compartment were also not significantly different from the activities determined in the benthic compartment. No potential ammonia-oxidizing activities were observed in the pelagic compartment. No activity was detected in the epiphyton of Chara aspera, the dominant submerged macrophyte in Lake Nuldernauw in The Netherlands. The presence of ammonia-oxidizing bacterial cells in the epiphyton of Potamogeton pectinatus was also demonstrated by fluorescent in situ hybridization microscopy images. By comparing the community composition as assessed by the 16S rRNA gene PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis approach, it was concluded that the epiphytic ammonia-oxidizing communities consisted of cells that were also present in the benthic and pelagic compartments. Of the environmental parameters examined, only the water retention time, the Kjeldahl nitrogen content, and the total phosphorus content correlated with potential ammonia-oxidizing activities. None of these parameters correlated with the numbers of gene copies related to ammonia-oxidizing betaproteobacteria.
Project description:Pollution has led to a decline of benthic invertebrate biodiversity of Narragansett Bay, raising questions about effects on ecosystem functions and services including shellfish production, energy flow to fishes, and biogeochemical cycles. Changes in community composition and taxonomic distinctness (biodiversity) were calculated from the 1950s-when quantitative benthic invertebrate data first became available-to 2015. Change in community composition of the bay was correlated with changes in dissolved inorganic nitrogen, dissolved oxygen, and sediment contaminants. A mid-bay reference site showed moderate changes in community composition but no change in biodiversity. In contrast, a more impacted site in the upper bay showed substantial differences in community composition over time and a decline in taxonomic distinctness. Bay-wide, as inputs of some stressors such as nutrients and sediment contaminants have declined, there are signs of recovery of benthic biodiversity but other stressors such as temperature and watershed development are increasing.