MEPS 557:31-49 (2016)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11837

Variability of bioturbation in various sediment types and on different spatial scales in the southwestern Baltic Sea

Claudia Morys*, Stefan Forster, Gerhard Graf

Department Marine Biology, University of Rostock, Albert-Einstein-Str. 3, 18059 Rostock, Germany
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Variability of bioturbation on different spatial scales was revealed through a survey at 6 stations in the southwestern Baltic Sea with different sediment types, salinities and macrozoobenthic communities. At each station, 6 sampling locations were investigated with 4 cores each (24 cores per station). The cores were analyzed for vertical chlorophyll (chl) profiles, which were modeled with both a local (tracer distribution decreasing exponentially with depth indicative of diffusive transport, DB) and a non-local (presence of subsurface maximum of the tracer, injection flux J and ingestion rate r) mixing model developed by Soetaert et al. (1996; J Mar Res 54:1207–1227). Degradation of chl was determined experimentally by an incubation of fresh sediment under anoxic, dark conditions and provided decay constants kD of 0.01 d-1 for mud and 0.02 d-1 for sand. Mixing depths reach 7.1 ± 1.6 cm at stations in the west (except Lübeck Bay, LB), 2 cm deeper than at stations in the east, which reach 5.2 ± 1.7 cm (including LB), mainly depending on the macrozoobenthic community present. Bioturbation intensities indicate high variability between closely located sampling sites as well as across the southern Baltic Sea, and depend on the food supply from the water column. Stations indicate a difference in local mixing (DB) of a factor of 20 and in non-local processes (J) of 6. Non-local transports account for 33 to 50% of the investigated area in the west and for 70 to 100% in the east. The statistical description of the results indicates the necessity of high sampling effort when using chl as a particle tracer.


KEY WORDS: Bioturbation · Local and non-local transport · Chlorophyll degradation · Mixing depth


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Cite this article as: Morys C, Forster S, Graf G (2016) Variability of bioturbation in various sediment types and on different spatial scales in the southwestern Baltic Sea. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 557:31-49. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11837

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