How do nutrient conditions and species identity influence the impact of mesograzers in eelgrass-epiphyte systems?.

Jaschinski, Sybill and Sommer, Ulrich (2011) How do nutrient conditions and species identity influence the impact of mesograzers in eelgrass-epiphyte systems?. Open Access Marine Biology, 158 (1). pp. 193-203. DOI 10.1007/s00227-010-1551-0.

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Abstract

Coastal eutrophication is thought to cause excessive growth of epiphytes in eelgrass beds, threatening the health and survival of these ecologically and economically valuable ecosystems worldwide. Mesograzers, small crustacean and gastropod grazers, have the potential to prevent seagrass loss by grazing preferentially and efficiently on epiphytes. We tested the impact of three mesograzers on epiphyte biomass and eelgrass productivity under threefold enriched nutrient concentrations in experimental indoor mesocosm systems under summer conditions. We compared the results with earlier identical experiments that were performed under ambient nutrient supply. The isopod Idotea baltica, the periwinkle Littorina littorea, and the small gastropod Rissoa membranacea significantly reduced epiphyte load under high nutrient supply with Rissoa being the most efficient grazer, but only high densities of Littorina and Rissoa had a significant positive effect on eelgrass productivity. Although all mesograzers increased epiphyte ingestion with higher nutrient load, most likely as a functional response to the quantitatively and qualitatively better food supply, the promotion of eelgrass growth by Idotea and Rissoa was diminished compared to the study performed under ambient nutrient supply. Littorina maintained the level of its positive impact on eelgrass productivity regardless of nutrient concentrations.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Ecology; Zostera marina, eutrophication, grazing, Idotea, Littorina, Rissoa
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EOE-N Experimental Ecology - Food Webs
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1007/s00227-010-1551-0
ISSN: 0025-3162
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 03 Jan 2011 08:40
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2018 08:09
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/10644

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