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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 163:99-107 (1998)  -  doi:10.3354/meps163099

Influence of bioturbation on denitrification activity in Mediterranean coastal sediments: an in situ experimental approach

Franck Gilbert*, Georges Stora, Patricia Bonin

Laboratoire d'Océanographie et de Biogéochimie, Centre d'Océanologie de Marseille (OSU), Université de la Méditerranée, UMR CNRS 6535, Campus de Luminy, Case 901, F-13288 Marseille Cedex 9, France

An in situ experiment was conducted in the French Mediterranean littoral (Gulf of Fos) from July 1993 to January 1994 using controls without macrofauna or natural sediments. After 1, 4 and 6 mo, sediment reworking and denitrification activities (natural and potential rates) were studied. The bacterial processes were stimulated by the bioturbating activity of the autochthonous infauna. The natural and potential denitrification rates were 160 and 280% higher, respectively, than in the controls. The increase of denitrification, occurring at different depths in the sediment with respect to time, was directly dependent on the macrofaunal activity.

Bioturbation · Denitrification · In situ experiment · Mediterranean Sea

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