Aquatic environment

Impact of different benthic animals on phosphorus dynamicsacross the sediment-water interface

Lei Zhang , Xiaozhi Gu , Chengxin Fan , Jingge Shang , Qiushi Shen , Zhaode Wang , Ji Shen


Received December 01, 2009,Revised March 18, 2010, Accepted , Available online

Volume 22,2010,Pages 1674-1682

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As a diagenetic progress, bioturbation influences solute exchange across the sediment-water interface (SWI). Different benthic animals have various mechanical activities in sediment, thereby they may have different effects on solute exchange across the SWI. This laboratory study examined the impacts of different benthic animals on phosphorus dynamics across the SWI. Tubificid worms and Chironomidae larvae were introduced as model organisms which, based on their mechanical activities, belong to upward-conveyors and gallery-diffusers, respectively. The microcosm simulation study was carried out with a continuous flow culture system, and all sediment, water, and worms and larvae specimens were sampled from Taihu Lake, China. To compare their bioturbation effects, the same biomass (17.1 g wet weight (ww)/m2) was adopted for worms and larvae.Worms altered no oxygen penetration depth in sediment, while larvae increased the O2 penetration depth, compared to the control treatment. Their emergence also enhanced sediment O2 uptake. The oxidation of ferrous iron in pore water produced ferric iron oxyhydroxides that adsorbed soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) from the overlying water and pore water. Larvae built obviously oxidized tubes with about 2 mm diameter and the maximum length of 6 cm in sediment, and significantly decreased ferrous iron and SRP in the pore water compared to the control and worms treatments. Worms constructed no visually-oxidized galleries in the sediment in contrast to larvae, and they did not significantly alter SRP in the pore water relative to the control treatment. The adsorption of ferric iron oxyhydroxides to SRP caused by worms and larvae inhibited SRP release from sediment. Comparatively, worms inhibited more SRP release than larvae based on the same biomass, as they successively renewed the ferric iron oxyhydroxides rich oxidation layer through their deposition.

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