MEPS 452:297-303 (2012)  -  doi:10.3354/meps09610

Nutrient recycling by coastal macrofauna: intra- versus interspecific differences

Sébastien Villéger1,2,*, Franck Ferraton1, David Mouillot1,3, Rutger de Wit1

1Laboratoire Ecologie des systèmes marins côtiers, UMR 5119 Université Montpellier 2, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)-Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), Institut Français de Recherche pour l’Exploitation de la Mer (IFREMER), Université Montpellier 1, Université Montpellier 2, CC 093, 34095 Montpellier, France
2Laboratoire Evolution et Diversité Biologique, UMR 5174 CNRS-UPS, Université Paul Sabatier, 118 Route de Narbonne,
31062 Toulouse Cedex 4, France
3Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland 4811, Australia

ABSTRACT: In the context of global change, improving our understanding of how species communities shape ecosystem functioning and stability is a key issue. Therefore, we have to adopt a functional approach by considering the role of organisms in ecosystem processes. Nutrient recycling is important for sustaining primary productivity in aquatic systems but has been largely overlooked for macro-organisms. In a Mediterranean coastal ecosystem we found that per capita ammonium and phosphate excretion rates for the 9 dominant nektonic macrofauna species exceeded those of 3 benthic bivalves by factor 100. Body mass and species identity together significantly explained these interspecific differences in excretion rates. Significant differences in the effect of body mass on nutrient excretion rates were also found among the 7 fish species. More studies are needed to further explore the biological determinants of the intra- and interspecific variability of excretion rates as well as their consequences on marine ecosystem functioning.

KEY WORDS: Excretion · Ammonium · Phosphate · Fish · Functional diversity · Benthos · Nekton · Thau lagoon

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Cite this article as: Villéger S, Ferraton F, Mouillot D, de Wit R (2012) Nutrient recycling by coastal macrofauna: intra- versus interspecific differences. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 452:297-303

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