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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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Nitrogen removal rates are consistent despite patchiness in restored beds of green-lipped mussels, highlighting the upscaling-role of mussels in seafloor biogeochemistry.
Photo: Jenny Hillman

Sea MA, Thrush SF, Hillman JR


Environmental predictors of sediment denitrification rates within restored green-lipped mussel Perna canaliculus beds

Epifaunal bivalves, currently suffering extensive global declines, are known to affect benthic processes which enhance the natural removal of nitrogen (“denitrification”) from coastal marine environments. Enhancing ecosystem services such as denitrification are an important justification for bivalve restoration initiatives, yet empirical measurement of the role of specific species across a range of environmental conditions is missing. Sea and colleagues report in-situ denitrification rates from 4 restored mussel beds that varied in sediment composition, identifying sediment organic matter as the most significant predictor of fluxes. They suggest mussel biodeposition enhances nitrogen removal at these sites and that these effects occur across the 4 beds despite differences in mussel density. These findings provide an insight on nitrogen cycling in underrepresented oligotrophic systems of the southern hemisphere.


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