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Effects of shelter and enrichment on the ecology and nutrient cycling of microbial communities of subtidal carbonate sediments


Forehead, HI and Kendrick, GA and Thompson, PA, Effects of shelter and enrichment on the ecology and nutrient cycling of microbial communities of subtidal carbonate sediments, FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 80, (1) pp. 64-76. ISSN 0168-6496 (2012) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2011 Federation of European Microbiological Societies

DOI: doi:10.1111/j.1574-6941.2011.01267.x


The interactions between physical disturbances and biogeochemical cycling are fundamental to ecology. The benthic microbial community controls the major pathway of nutrient recycling in most shallow-water ecosystems. This community is strongly influenced by physical forcing and nutrient inputs. Our study tests the hypotheses that benthic microbial communities respond to shelter and enrichment with (1) increased biomass, (2) change in community composition and (3) increased uptake of inorganic nutrients from the water column. Replicate in situ plots were sheltered from physical disturbance and enriched with inorganic nutrients or left without additional nutrients. At t0 and after 10 days, sediment-water fluxes of nutrients, O2 and N2, were measured, the community was characterized with biomarkers. Autochthonous benthic microalgal (BMA) biomass increased 30% with shelter and a natural fivefold increase in nutrient concentration; biomass did not increase with greater enrichment. Diatoms remained the dominant taxon of BMA, suggesting that the sediments were not N or Si limited. Bacteria and other heterotrophic organisms increased with enrichment and shelter. Daily exchanges of inorganic nutrients between sediments and the water column did not change in response to shelter or nutrient enrichment. In these sediments, physical disturbance, perhaps in conjunction with nutrient enrichment, was the primary determinant of microbial biomass.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:microphytobenthos, benthic microalgae, lipid and pigment biomarkers, biogeochemistry
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:Forehead, HI (Dr Hugh Forehead)
UTAS Author:Thompson, PA (Dr Peter Thompson)
ID Code:119653
Year Published:2012
Web of Science® Times Cited:4
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2017-08-03
Last Modified:2017-10-17

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