Benthic macrofauna bioturbation and early colonization in newly flooded coastal habitats

Thomas Valdemarsen*, Cintia O. Quintana, Sandra W. Thorsen, Erik Kristensen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

How will coastal soils in areas newly flooded with seawater function as habitat for benthic marine organisms? This research question is highly relevant as global sea level rise and coastal realignment will cause flooding of soils and form new marine habitats. In this study, we tested experimentally the capacity of common marine polychaetes, Marenzelleria viridis, Nereis (Hediste) diversicolor and Scoloplos armiger to colonize and modify the biogeochemistry of the newly established Gyldensteen Coastal Lagoon, Denmark. All tested polychaetes survived relatively well (28–89%) and stimulated carbon dioxide release (TCO2) by 97–105% when transferred to newly flooded soils, suggesting that soil characteristics are modified rapidly by colonizing fauna. A field survey showed that the pioneering benthic community inside the lagoon was structurally different from the marine area outside the lagoon, and M. viridis and S. armiger were not among the early colonizers. These were instead N. diversicolor and Polydora cornuta with an abundance of 1603 and 540 ind m-2, respectively. Considering the species-specific effects of N. diversicolor on TCO2 release and its average abundance in the lagoon, we estimate that organic carbon degradation was increased by 219% in the first year of flooding. We therefore conclude that early colonizing polychaetes modify the soils and may play an important role in the ecological and successional developments, e.g. C cycling and biodiversity, in newly flooded coastal ecosystems. Newly flooded soils have thus a strong potential to develop into well-functioning marine ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0196097
JournalPLOS ONE
Volume13
Issue number4
Number of pages21
ISSN1932-6203
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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bioturbation
Ecosystem
Soils
Polychaeta
habitats
soil
coastal soils
Ocean habitats
Biogeochemistry
biogeochemistry
Aquatic ecosystems
Denmark
Biodiversity
Sea level
Seawater
sea level
Organic carbon
Carbon Dioxide
Ecosystems
seawater

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title = "Benthic macrofauna bioturbation and early colonization in newly flooded coastal habitats",
abstract = "How will coastal soils in areas newly flooded with seawater function as habitat for benthic marine organisms? This research question is highly relevant as global sea level rise and coastal realignment will cause flooding of soils and form new marine habitats. In this study, we tested experimentally the capacity of common marine polychaetes, Marenzelleria viridis, Nereis (Hediste) diversicolor and Scoloplos armiger to colonize and modify the biogeochemistry of the newly established Gyldensteen Coastal Lagoon, Denmark. All tested polychaetes survived relatively well (28–89{\%}) and stimulated carbon dioxide release (TCO2) by 97–105{\%} when transferred to newly flooded soils, suggesting that soil characteristics are modified rapidly by colonizing fauna. A field survey showed that the pioneering benthic community inside the lagoon was structurally different from the marine area outside the lagoon, and M. viridis and S. armiger were not among the early colonizers. These were instead N. diversicolor and Polydora cornuta with an abundance of 1603 and 540 ind m-2, respectively. Considering the species-specific effects of N. diversicolor on TCO2 release and its average abundance in the lagoon, we estimate that organic carbon degradation was increased by 219{\%} in the first year of flooding. We therefore conclude that early colonizing polychaetes modify the soils and may play an important role in the ecological and successional developments, e.g. C cycling and biodiversity, in newly flooded coastal ecosystems. Newly flooded soils have thus a strong potential to develop into well-functioning marine ecosystems.",
author = "Thomas Valdemarsen and Quintana, {Cintia O.} and Thorsen, {Sandra W.} and Erik Kristensen",
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Benthic macrofauna bioturbation and early colonization in newly flooded coastal habitats. / Valdemarsen, Thomas; Quintana, Cintia O.; Thorsen, Sandra W.; Kristensen, Erik.

In: PLOS ONE, Vol. 13, No. 4, e0196097, 2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Benthic macrofauna bioturbation and early colonization in newly flooded coastal habitats

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AU - Quintana, Cintia O.

AU - Thorsen, Sandra W.

AU - Kristensen, Erik

PY - 2018

Y1 - 2018

N2 - How will coastal soils in areas newly flooded with seawater function as habitat for benthic marine organisms? This research question is highly relevant as global sea level rise and coastal realignment will cause flooding of soils and form new marine habitats. In this study, we tested experimentally the capacity of common marine polychaetes, Marenzelleria viridis, Nereis (Hediste) diversicolor and Scoloplos armiger to colonize and modify the biogeochemistry of the newly established Gyldensteen Coastal Lagoon, Denmark. All tested polychaetes survived relatively well (28–89%) and stimulated carbon dioxide release (TCO2) by 97–105% when transferred to newly flooded soils, suggesting that soil characteristics are modified rapidly by colonizing fauna. A field survey showed that the pioneering benthic community inside the lagoon was structurally different from the marine area outside the lagoon, and M. viridis and S. armiger were not among the early colonizers. These were instead N. diversicolor and Polydora cornuta with an abundance of 1603 and 540 ind m-2, respectively. Considering the species-specific effects of N. diversicolor on TCO2 release and its average abundance in the lagoon, we estimate that organic carbon degradation was increased by 219% in the first year of flooding. We therefore conclude that early colonizing polychaetes modify the soils and may play an important role in the ecological and successional developments, e.g. C cycling and biodiversity, in newly flooded coastal ecosystems. Newly flooded soils have thus a strong potential to develop into well-functioning marine ecosystems.

AB - How will coastal soils in areas newly flooded with seawater function as habitat for benthic marine organisms? This research question is highly relevant as global sea level rise and coastal realignment will cause flooding of soils and form new marine habitats. In this study, we tested experimentally the capacity of common marine polychaetes, Marenzelleria viridis, Nereis (Hediste) diversicolor and Scoloplos armiger to colonize and modify the biogeochemistry of the newly established Gyldensteen Coastal Lagoon, Denmark. All tested polychaetes survived relatively well (28–89%) and stimulated carbon dioxide release (TCO2) by 97–105% when transferred to newly flooded soils, suggesting that soil characteristics are modified rapidly by colonizing fauna. A field survey showed that the pioneering benthic community inside the lagoon was structurally different from the marine area outside the lagoon, and M. viridis and S. armiger were not among the early colonizers. These were instead N. diversicolor and Polydora cornuta with an abundance of 1603 and 540 ind m-2, respectively. Considering the species-specific effects of N. diversicolor on TCO2 release and its average abundance in the lagoon, we estimate that organic carbon degradation was increased by 219% in the first year of flooding. We therefore conclude that early colonizing polychaetes modify the soils and may play an important role in the ecological and successional developments, e.g. C cycling and biodiversity, in newly flooded coastal ecosystems. Newly flooded soils have thus a strong potential to develop into well-functioning marine ecosystems.

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