SMALL CRITTERS PLAY A BIG ROLE? BENTHIC BIODIVERSITY AND ECOSYSTEM FUNCTIONING IN COASTAL SEDIMENTARY ENVIRONMENTS
Benthic macrofauna living in marine sedimentary ecosystems habitats play a key role in numerous ecosystem processes, such as carbon and nutrient cycles. To study the effect of benthic biodiversity on ecosystem functioning, we collected push cores from Saanich Inlet and the Strait of Georgia, British Columbia, in May and July 2011 using the ROV ROPOS. Data from the VENUS observatory at these locations clearly shows low bottom water oxygen content in Saanich Inlet in contrast to the well-oxygenated Strait of Georgia nearby. Sediment cores were incubated for a 12-24 hours period to measure oxygen uptake and nutrient fluxes, followed by determination of macrofaunal composition. PERMANOVA results indicate significantly lower polychaete community abundance and diversity in Saanich Inlet than in the Strait of Georgia. However, this lower diversity do not results in lower ecosystem process measurements. Redundancy analysis indicates that benthic respiration and nutrient fluxes are best explained by bottom water temperature and oxygen concentration. This study suggests that environmental variables have a larger effect on ecosystem functioning than biological variables in these coastal sedimentary ecosystems.
Belley, R., Memorial University, Canada, firstname.lastname@example.org
Snelgrove, P., Memorial University, Canada, email@example.com
Time: 16:00 - 18:00
Location: Poster/Exhibit Hall
Presentation is given by student: Yes