MEPS 338:131-143 (2007)  -  doi:10.3354/meps338131

Summer influence of 1 and 2 yr old mussel cultures on benthic fluxes in Grande-Entrée lagoon, Îles-de-la-Madeleine (Québec, Canada)

Marion Richard1,2,3, Philippe Archambault1,3,*, Gérard Thouzeau2, Gaston Desrosiers3,†

1Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Institut Maurice-Lamontagne, Environmental Sciences Division, 850 Route de la Mer, PO Box 1000, Mont-Joli, Québec G5H 3Z4, Canada
2CNRS-UMR 6539, Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer, Technopôle Brest Iroise, Place Nicolas Copernic, 29280 Plouzané, France
3Institut des Sciences de la Mer, Université du Québec à Rimouski, 310 Allée des Ursulines, CP 3300, Rimouski, Québec G5L 3A1, Canada
*Corresponding author. Email:
In memoriam

ABSTRACT: The summer influence of 1 and 2 yr old suspended mussel lines on benthic fluxes (oxygen, silicates, ammonium, phosphates, nitrates and nitrites) was studied in Grande-Entrée lagoon (GEL), Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Québec, Canada. This influence and its temporal variation were examined in relation to bottom water, sediment and macrofauna characteristics. In situ mensurative experiments using benthic chambers and sediment cores were carried out at 2 mussel sites (M1 and M2) and 2 control sites (C1 and C2) in July, August and September 2003. In contrast to 1 yr old mussel lines (M1), 2 yr old lines (M2) enriched the sediment in organic matter and increased silicate, ammonium, phosphate and nitrite fluxes at the water–sediment interface. Silicate, ammonium and phosphate fluxes were highest in August, when temperature was highest. The main nutrient releases observed at the water–sediment interface in M2 could reduce nitrogen and silica limitation in the water column. Mussel lines did not influence benthic macrofauna biomass, but favoured the recruitment of many small-sized organisms. No influence of mussel lines was observed on oxygen consumption at the water–sediment interface. Macrofauna biomass and oxygen consumption increased in parallel during the summer, but the respiration of the low biomass alone cannot explain the greater overall benthic oxygen demand. The latter was probably also driven by the oxidation of reduced compounds such as sulfides. The reduced nature of the sediment could be natural in GEL, but the continuous accumulation of mussel biodeposits since 1985 has probably contributed to the degradation of the benthic environment in the mussel farm.


KEY WORDS: Mussel line · Biogeochemical fluxes · Water–sediment interface · Organic enrichment · Benthic macrofauna


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