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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 482:43-55 (2013)  -  DOI:

Effect of reoxygenation and Marenzelleria spp. bioturbation on Baltic Sea sediment metabolism

S. Bonaglia1,*, M. Bartoli2, J. S. Gunnarsson3, L. Rahm4, C. Raymond3, O. Svensson3, S. Shakeri Yekta4, V. Brüchert1

1Department of Geological Sciences, and 3Department of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden
2Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Parma, 43124 Parma, Italy
4Department of Thematic Studies—Water and Environment, Linköping University, 58183 Linköping, Sweden

ABSTRACT: Nutrient reduction and the improvement of bottom water oxygen concentrations are thought to be key factors in the recovery of eutrophic aquatic ecosystems. The effects of reoxygenation and bioturbation of natural hypoxic sediments in the Baltic Sea were studied using a mesocosm experiment. Anoxic sediment box cores were collected from 100 m depth in Kanholmsfjärden (Stockholm Archipelago) and maintained in flow-through mesocosms with 3 treatments: (1) hypoxic: supplied with hypoxic water; (2) normoxic: supplied with oxic water; and (3) Marenzelleria: supplied with oxic water and the polychaete Marenzelleria spp. (2000 ind. m–2). After a 7 wk long conditioning period, net fluxes of dissolved O2, CH4, Fe2+, Mn2+, NH4+, NO2-, NO3-, PO43- and H4SiO4, and rates of nitrate ammonification (DNRA), denitrification and anammox were determined. Phosphate was taken up by the sediment in all treatments, and the uptake was highest in the normoxic treatment with Marenzelleria. Normoxic conditions stimulated the denitrification rate by a factor of 5. Denitrification efficiency was highest under normoxia (50%), intermediate in bioturbated sediments (16%), and very low in hypoxic sediments (4%). The shift from hypoxic to normoxic conditions resulted in a significantly higher retention of NH4+, H4SiO4 and Mn2+ in the sediment, but the bioturbation by Marenzelleria reversed this effect. Results from our study suggest that bioturbation by Marenzelleria stimulates the exchange of solutes between sediment and bottom water through irrigation and enhances bacterial sulfate reduction in the burrow walls. The latter may have a toxic effect on nitrifying bacteria, which, in turn, suppresses denitrification rates.

KEY WORDS: Hypoxia · Macrofauna · Mesocosm · Denitrification · Dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium · DNRA · Benthic Flux · Baltic Sea

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Cite this article as: Bonaglia S, Bartoli M, Gunnarsson JS, Rahm L and others (2013) Effect of reoxygenation and Marenzelleria spp. bioturbation on Baltic Sea sediment metabolism. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 482:43-55.

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