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Macrofaunal irrigation traits enhance predictability of nutrient fluxes across the sediment–water interface

Alexa Wrede*, Henrike Andresen, Ragnhild Asmus, Karen Helen Wiltshire, Thomas Brey

*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: This study shows that macrofaunal irrigation traits constitute a valuable complement to sediment reworking traits in estimating macrofaunal impact on nutrient fluxes across the sediment–water interface. We correlated density, biomass, community bioturbation potential BPc (index based on reworking traits, body mass, density) and community irrigation potential IPc (index based on irrigation traits, body mass, density) with nitrite, nitrate, ammonium, silicate and phosphate flux data under different environmental conditions. Generalized linear models performed best with a combination of environmental conditions and irrigation trait-based indices. This was not only a direct effect of the irrigation traits, but also of the scaling factor 0.75 employed in IPc to infer metabolic activity from body mass. Accordingly, predictive models of nutrient flux across the sediment–water interface will profit greatly from incorporating macrofaunal irrigation behaviour by means of trait based indices.