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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 186:87-93 (1999)  -  doi:10.3354/meps186087

The importance of ciliates for interstitial solute transport in benthic communities

Ronnie Nøhr Glud*, Tom Fenchel

Marine Biological Laboratory, University of Copenhagen, Strandpromenaden 5, 3000 Helsingør, Denmark

ABSTRACT: By 3 different approaches we demonstrate the ability of filter feeding ciliates (Euplotes spp. and Uronema marinum) to enhance interstitial solute transports. By a simple diffusion analogy we quantify the effect as a function of cell densities. Ciliate densities often encountered in biofilms, microbial mats or estuarine sediments may enhance the transport coefficients of biogeochemical important solutes like, for instance, O2 by a factor of 1.1 to 10 above the diffusive coefficient. In less productive environments (coastal or shelf sediments) ciliate densities are usually too low to cause any significant effect on the diffusive mediated solute transport, at least in the case of small fast-diffusing molecules such as O2.

KEY WORDS: Diffusion · Solutes · Ciliates · Dispersion · Porewater · Transport coefficients

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