A tentative field experiment on population dynamics of macrobenthos in the western Baltic.

Brunswig, Dietrich, Arntz, Wolf E. and Rumohr, Heye (1976) A tentative field experiment on population dynamics of macrobenthos in the western Baltic. Open Access Kieler Meeresforschungen - Sonderheft, 3 . pp. 49-59.

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Abstract

In the scope of our investigations on the basic processes in a soft-bottom macrobenthos community, as a preliminary test, a series of five 1 m2 metal boxes filled with sterilized sediment from the surrounding habitat was exposed in an enclosed area in the western Kiel Bight at a depth of 20 m from September 1972 until July 1975. The establishment and succession of the soft bottom association in the boxes was followed and compared to the association on the surrounding sea floor by monthly to bimonthly sampling by the diving group of SFB 95. While the number of species increases continuously until a final level of about 20 per 0.1 m2 is reached in January 1974, the values of total biomass (the starfish excluded) fluctuate seasonally being high in autumn and early winter and low in March and April. In a late experimental stage in January 1975, before or just in the beginning period of the regression of the bivalve populations, the association in the boxes (80g wet wt./m2) has only reached 50% of the biomass of the assemblage outside where large long-lived and slowly growing bivalve species contribute 75% of macrobenthos weight. The data of total specimen number fluctuate widely due to oxygen deficiency in late 1973 followed by a high colonization activity by opportunistic spionid species immediately after. According to the dominance in specimen numbers of the major taxononomic groups, three phases can be distinguisted: crustacea (mainly Diastylis rathkei) - sedentary polychaetes (spionids, Pectinaria koreni) - bivalves (Abra alba) together with errant polychaetes (Nepthys spp.). In terms of biomass, however, there is an additional phase of echinoderm prevalence (Asterias rubens) during the last five months. The starfish obviously utilize the bivalve production to a high extent: between 94 and 75 % mortality for the three most abundant bivalve species within six months. For the last six months of the experiment, the net production of all bivalve species is calculated as 24g wet wt./m2, i.e. 0.61 g organic carbon of living tissue, most of which is produced by only three species (Abra alba, Cardium fasciatum and Mya truncata: 22g wet wt/m2.) lt is suggested that predators are of eminent importance in controlling succession and production of the new association. The effects of the experimental conditions on the findings is discussed, and a design for extended interdisciplinary in situ experiments to be carried out from 1976 on, based on the experiences of this first test, is presented.

Document Type: Article
Additional Information: Printausgabe in Bibliothek vorhanden - print edition available
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EOE-B Experimental Ecology - Benthic Ecology
Refereed: No
Open Access Journal?: Yes
ISSN: 0023-1339
Date Deposited: 11 May 2022 12:54
Last Modified: 11 May 2022 12:54
URI: https://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/55998

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