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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2016-411
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2016-411
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 13 Oct 2016

Submitted as: research article | 13 Oct 2016

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG). A final paper in BG is not foreseen.

Functional classification of bioturbating macrofauna in marine sediments using time-resolved imaging of particle displacement and multivariate analysis

Stina Lindqvist1, Johan Engelbrektsson2, Susanne P. Eriksson3, and Stefan Hulth1 Stina Lindqvist et al.
  • 1Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Gothenburg, Göteborg, 412 96, Sweden
  • 2SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, Borås, 501 15, Sweden
  • 3Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences – Kristineberg, University of Gothenburg, Fiskebäckskil, 451 78, Sweden

Abstract. Activities by macrofauna may drastically alter rates and pathways of reactions in surface sediments during early diagenesis and numerous experiments have been designed to quantify the importance of bioturbation by individual species and faunal communities for element cycling in these environments. It is increasingly recognized that functional traits of fauna are critical for element transformations. An example of such functional trait is the capacity for particle transport across horizontal and vertical gradients in environmental characteristics. The present contribution describes a general procedure for functional classification of fauna using multivariate analysis based on a suite of experimentally derived variables for particle reworking.

The relocation of fluorescently labeled particles (luminophores) added to surface sediments was quantified by side-view imaging during a two-week experiment incubating several common bioturbating species of marine benthic macrofauna: Glycera alba, Nephtys incisa, Lipobranchius jeffreysii, Scalibregma inflatum (Annelida), Brissopsis lyrifera (Echinodermata), Abra nitida, Nuculana pernula, and Thyasira sarsii (Mollusca) in thin glass aquaria.

Multivariate analysis revealed groups of species with similar mode of reworking based on reworking variables associated with quantity and time (bulk), as well as vertical distance (depth) of particle transport. Most pronounced effects on bulk transport were found in the N. pernula, A. nitida and L. jeffreysii treatments, while only a limited quantitative capacity to relocate particles was observed in the T. sarsii and N. incisa treatments. Although stochastic patterns were observed for some species, a prominent capacity for vertical transport of surface deposited particles was demonstrated for the annelids and T. sarsii.

From these results, three main groups of fauna with common reworking behavior were identified. B. lyrifera, A. nitida and N. pernula were species with only a limited effect on the vertical transport of particles. In contrast, while N. incisa and T. sarsii were able to relocate particles vertically, they shared a restricted capacity for bulk sediment transport. Despite high intraspecific variation, G. alba, L. jeffreysii and S. inflatum had the capacity for bulk and vertical transport of particles.

Despite the challenge to generalize species functionality and reworking capacity of benthic macrofauna, our results demonstrated that time-resolved high-resolution imaging of particle displacement, in combination with multivariate analysis, provides a general experimental tool for functional classification of benthic macrofauna.

Stina Lindqvist et al.
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Interactive discussion
Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement
Stina Lindqvist et al.
Stina Lindqvist et al.
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This contribution describes a general procedure for functional classification of benthic macrofauna based on a suite of variables for particle reworking. Despite the challenge to generalize species functionality, time-resolved high-resolution imaging of particle displacement combined with multivariate analysis, provides a general tool for functional classification of macrofauna. Species were grouped in accordance to quantity and time, as well as vertical distance of particle transport.
This contribution describes a general procedure for functional classification of benthic...
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