MEPS 142:121-134 (1996)  -  doi:10.3354/meps142121

Filtration and resuspension of particulate matter and phytoplankton on an intertidal mussel bed in the Oosterschelde estuary (SW Netherlands)

Prins TC, Smaal AC, Pouwer AJ, Dankers N

In situ measurements were carried out on an intertidal mussel bed in the Oosterschelde estuary, SW Netherlands. Exchange of suspended particulate matter and phytoplankton between the water column and the mussel bed was measured with a Benthic Ecosystem Tunnel. In situ clearance rates of the mussel bed were compared to clearance rates of individual mussels measured in a field station under ambient conditions. Concentrations of suspended particulate matter (SPM) and particulate organic carbon (POC) in the water column above the tidal flat were affected by wind-induced resuspension. Chlorophyll a concentrations were higher during flood tides than during ebb tides, and were not affected by wind-induced resuspension. Clearance rates of the mussel bed ranged from 1.3 to 7.1 m3 m-2 h-1. In situ measured clearance rates generally were comparable to rates observed in measurements with individual mussels in a field station. Uptake of SPM and POC by the mussel bed was highly variable. Under calm weather conditions, uptake rates were correlated with inflow concentrations. Net uptake of phytoplankton was relatively higher than the uptake of POC, indicating that a major part of the POC was resuspended and exported from the mussel bed after filtration. In addition, wind stress induced considerable resuspension and export of SPM and POC from the mussel bed. Chlorophyll a uptake was less influenced by wind, and high rates of uptake, caused by mussel filtration, were observed. The result of filtration and resuspension processes was a net uptake by the mussel bed of particulate matter containing a relatively high proportion of phytoplankton: the mussel bed acted as a selective filter for phytoplankton.

Bivalves · Phytoplankton · In situ measurements · Particulate matter flux · Wind

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