MEPS 586:21-40 (2018)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12417

Impact of Eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica biodeposit resuspension on the seston, nutrient, phytoplankton, and zooplankton dynamics: a mesocosm experiment

Elka T. Porter1,*, Heather Franz1, Richard Lacouture2

1University of Baltimore, Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences, 1420 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21201, USA
2Patuxent Environmental and Aquatic Research Laboratory, Morgan State University, 10545 Mackall Road, St. Leonard, MD 20685, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: To test the effect of Crassostrea virginica biodeposit resuspension on nutrient and plankton dynamics, a 4 wk experiment was performed in six 1000 l shear-turbulence-resuspension-mesocosms (STURM) without a sediment bottom (R). Three tanks (R_BD) received daily additions of oyster biodeposits (5.77 ± 3.33 mg total suspended solids). Simulated tidal resuspension of biodeposits in the R_BD tanks resulted in concentrations of 90 mg l–1 total suspended solids when mixing was on, decreasing to ca. 20 mg l–1 when mixing was off. However, bulk settling speeds of particles in the R_BD tanks increased 3-fold over the experiment. Particulate nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon concentrations as well as dissolved inorganic nitrogen, nitrate + nitrite, dissolved organic phosphorus, and total dissolved phosphorus levels were significantly higher in the R_BD tanks. In the R_BD tanks the greatest part (72%) of the nitrogen was partitioned in the total dissolved nitrogen, but in the R tanks the greatest part (51.5%) was partitioned in microphytobenthos. While chlorophyll a concentrations were higher in the R_BD tanks than in the R tanks (despite tunicates being found in the R_BD tanks), phytoplankton biomass (carbon) as estimated using direct cell counts was not significantly different and there was little difference in phytoplankton composition. However, the ratio of chl a:C was higher in the R_BD tanks, suggesting phytoplankton adjusted to low light in the R_BD tanks by increasing chl a in their cells. Acartia sp. abundance was also raised in the R_BD tanks. Addition and regular tidal resuspension of oyster biodeposits profoundly affected nutrient dynamics, nitrogen partitioning, and zooplankton community dynamics.


KEY WORDS: STURM · Biodeposit resuspension · Crassostrea virginica · Eastern oyster · Mesocosm · Experimental ecosystem · Benthic-pelagic coupling


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Cite this article as: Porter ET, Franz H, Lacouture R (2018) Impact of Eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica biodeposit resuspension on the seston, nutrient, phytoplankton, and zooplankton dynamics: a mesocosm experiment. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 586:21-40. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12417

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