Importance of benthic macrofauna and coastal biotopes for ecosystem functioning – Oxygen and nutrient fluxes in the coastal zone

Urszula Janas , Dorota Burska , Halina Kendzierska , Dorota Pryputniewicz-Flis , Katarzyna Łukawska-Matuszewska


The coastal zone, often a mosaic of biotopes, plays a number of important roles that ensure the proper functioning of the entire marine ecosystem. In this transition zone between the land and the open sea, the processes of nutrient transformation and retention take place. The objective of the present study was to determine the effect of benthic fauna and environmental parameters on solute fluxes at the water-sediment interface. Furthermore, we have made an attempt to investigate the role of various biotopes in the coastal zone, including Zostera marina and Mytilus trossulus beds, and to determine whether they are a sink or source of oxygen and nutrients. For this purpose, bare soft-bottom biotopes and biotopes with engineering species, Z. marina and M. trossulus were examined. The study was carried out in autumn, at six sites with water depths ranging from 2 to 23 m, located in Puck Bay (southern Baltic Sea). Oxygen and nutrient fluxes across the sediment-water interface were used as a measurement of ecosystem functions, resulting from numerous processes that take place in the benthic environment and combine biotic and abiotic pathways. We observed a high variability of fluxes in the coastal biotopes. Soft sediments inhabited by Z. marina and fauna were generally a source of nutrients. Soft sediments inhabited by microphytobenthos and fauna were also a source but to a lesser extent. The results of our study have demonstrated a significant effect of epifauna inhabiting the surface of sediment or its topmost layer on solute fluxes and thus on the ecosystem functioning. This applies in particular to macrofaunal communities dominated by M. trossulus, which had a large impact on ammonia and phosphate effluxes. The largest efflux of silicate was observed at the deepest site with a high organic matter content as well as in Z. marina beds.
Author Urszula Janas (FOG / IO / DEEMO)
Urszula Janas,,
- Division of Experimental Ecology of Marine Organisms
, Dorota Burska (FOG / IO / DMChEP)
Dorota Burska,,
- Division of Marine Chemistry and Environmental Protection
, Halina Kendzierska (FOG / IO / DEEMO)
Halina Kendzierska,,
- Division of Experimental Ecology of Marine Organisms
, Dorota Pryputniewicz-Flis (FOG / IO / DMChEP)
Dorota Pryputniewicz-Flis,,
- Division of Marine Chemistry and Environmental Protection
, Katarzyna Łukawska-Matuszewska (FOG / IO / DMChEP)
Katarzyna Łukawska-Matuszewska,,
- Division of Marine Chemistry and Environmental Protection
Journal seriesEstuarine Coastal and Shelf Science, ISSN 0272-7714, (N/A 100 pkt)
Issue year2019
Publication size in sheets0.7
Article number106238
Keywords in EnglishZostera marina, Mytilus trossulus, benthic communities, ecosystem functions, oxygen and nutrient fluxes, coastal zone
ASJC Classification1104 Aquatic Science; 1910 Oceanography
Languageen angielski
Score (nominal)100
Score sourcejournalList
ScoreMinisterial score = 100.0, 17-11-2019, ArticleFromJournal
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2018 = 1.164; WoS Impact Factor: 2018 = 2.611 (2) - 2018=2.975 (5)
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