- Invertebrate footprints on detritus processing, bacterial community structure, and spatiotemporal redox profiles
- Freshwater Science
- Volume | Issue number
- 31 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
Detritus processing is driven by a complex interplay between macroinvertebrate and microbial activities. Bioturbation/feeding activities of invertebrates in sediments are known to influence decomposition rates. However, direct effects of invertebrates on bacterial communities and detritus processing remain ill-defined, mainly because identifying interactions between invertebrates and sediments is methodologically challenging. We incubated 5 macroinvertebrate species with various bioturbation/feeding traits separately in sediment-filled microcosms inoculated with bacterial communities for 5 d. At the end of the experiment, we assessed: 1) detritus processing (mass loss on ignition [LOI] and dissolved organic C accumulation in the overlying water [absorbance at 280 nm]), 2) bacterial community structure (intergenic spacer analysis [RISA]) and bacterial activity (electron transport system activity [ETSA]), and 3) development of redox potential (Eh) over time (with permanently installed microelectrodes). Invertebrates enhanced bacterial activity and detritus processing, and the magnitude depended on bioturbation/feeding traits. Bacterial community structure differed significantly between microcosms with burrowing invertebrates and microcosms with sediment-dwelling invertebrates. Eh profiles were similar among microcosms with invertebrates with similar bioturbation/feeding traits, but
differed among microcosms with invertebrates with dissimilar bioturbation/feeding traits. Our results suggest that bioturbation by aquatic invertebrates mediates detritus processing, Eh dynamics, and structure of the microbial community. These findings highlight the significance of bioturbation and show the utility of spatiotemporal Eh dynamics as footprints reflecting functioning of benthic detrital food webs.
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