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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 514:71-86 (2014)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps10961

Comparative study of sediment particle mixing in a Zostera noltei meadow and a bare sediment mudflat

Guillaume Bernard1,*, Marie-Lise Delgard1, Olivier Maire1, Aurélie Ciutat2, Pascal Lecroart1, Bruno Deflandre1, Jean Claude Duchêne2, Antoine Grémare

1UNIV. BORDEAUX, EPOC, UMR 5805, 33400 Talence, France
2CNRS, EPOC, UMR 5805, 33400 Talence, France
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Seasonal changes in sediment particle mixing, surface sediment and seagrass characteristics, and benthic infaunal composition were measured in Arcachon Bay (France), within both a well-developed Zostera noltei meadow and a bare sediment mudflat. Sediment particle mixing intensities (measured by the normal biodiffusion coefficient DbN) were obtained by fitting a continuous time random walk model to in situ measured vertical luminophore profiles. DbN values (mean ± SD) were between 2.99 ± 2.75 and 22.45 ± 43.73 cm2 yr-1 within the bare mudflat and between 0.39 ± 0.30 and 18.07 ± 18.14 cm2 yr-1 within the Zostera meadow. Spatiotemporal changes in infauna and DbN were lower within the Zostera meadow, which supports the buffering effects of seagrass meadows on biological sedimentary processes. Within the Zostera meadow, root biomass declined during the survey, in correlation with increases in (1) the mean value and the variability of DbN and (2) the spatial variability of infaunal composition with a decrease in the dominant polychaete Melinna palmata. At this station, similarity matrices of mean DbN and abundances of a set of 3 infaunal species (including M. palmata) correlated significantly, which further supports the key role of this species in controlling sediment particle mixing through sediment stabilization. When considering the whole data set, the similarity matrices of the coefficients of variation of DbN and of the abundances of a set of 5 species (Abra segmentum, Glycera convoluta, Tubificoides benedii, Heteromastus filiformis, Ruditapes phillipinarum) correlated significantly, which supports the suspected role of these species in controlling sediment particle mixing.


KEY WORDS: Seagrass decline · Bioturbation · Infauna · Spatial heterogeneity · Community structure · Melinna palmata


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Cite this article as: Bernard G, Delgard ML, Maire O, Ciutat A and others (2014) Comparative study of sediment particle mixing in a Zostera noltei meadow and a bare sediment mudflat. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 514:71-86. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps10961

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