Intermittent bioirrigation and oxygen dynamics in permeable sediments: An experimental and modeling study of three tellinid bivalves

Nils Volkenborn, Christof Meile, Lubos Polerecky, Conrad A. Pilditch, Alf Norkko, Joanna Norkko, Judi E. Hewitt, Simon F. Thrush, David S. Wethey, Sarah A. Woodin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

To explore the dynamic nature of geochemical conditions in bioirrigated marine permeable sediments, we studied the hydraulic activity of three tellinacean bivalve molluscs (the Pacific species Macoma nasuta and Macomona liliana, and the northern Atlantic and Pacific species Macoma balthica). We combined porewater pressure sensing, time-lapse photography and oxygen imaging to quantify the durations and frequencies of tellinid irrigation activity and the associated oxygen dynamics in the sediment. Porewater pressure records of all tellinids were dominated by intermittent porewater pressurization, induced by periodic water injection into the sediment through their excurrent siphons, which resulted in intermittent oxygen supply to subsurface sediments. The irrigation (two–12 minutes long) and intervals between subsequent irrigation bouts (1.5–13 minutes) varied among tellinid species and individual sizes. For large M. liliana and M. nasuta, the average intervals between irrigation bouts were sufficiently long (10 minutes and four minutes, respectively) to allow complete oxygen consumption in between irrigation bouts in all tested sediment types. Irrigation patterns of smaller conspecifics and the smaller species M. balthica were characterized by significantly shorter separation of irrigation bouts, which resulted in more continuous oxygenation of the sediment. Transport-reaction modeling confirmed these species- and size-specific geochemical signatures and indicated that the geochemical character of the sediment is largely conditioned by the interplay between temporal irrigation patterns and sedimentary oxygen consumption rates. For large tellinids, model simulations indicated that oscillatory rather than stationary geochemical conditions are prevalent in a wide range of sediment types, with oxic pockets collapsing completely between periods of active irrigation. Based on the model results we developed analytical approximations that allow estimation of spatio-temporal characteristics of sediment oxygenation for a wide range of sediment types and infaunal activity patterns. Our results emphasize the need to consider the intermittent nature of bioirrigation when studying the geochemical impact of infauna in permeable sediments.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Marine Research
Volume70
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)794-823
Number of pages30
ISSN0022-2402
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology

Cite this

Volkenborn, Nils ; Meile, Christof ; Polerecky, Lubos ; Pilditch, Conrad A. ; Norkko, Alf ; Norkko, Joanna ; Hewitt, Judi E. ; Thrush, Simon F. ; Wethey, David S. ; Woodin, Sarah A. / Intermittent bioirrigation and oxygen dynamics in permeable sediments: An experimental and modeling study of three tellinid bivalves. In: Journal of Marine Research. 2012 ; Vol. 70, No. 6. pp. 794-823.
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title = "Intermittent bioirrigation and oxygen dynamics in permeable sediments: An experimental and modeling study of three tellinid bivalves",
abstract = "To explore the dynamic nature of geochemical conditions in bioirrigated marine permeable sediments, we studied the hydraulic activity of three tellinacean bivalve molluscs (the Pacific species Macoma nasuta and Macomona liliana, and the northern Atlantic and Pacific species Macoma balthica). We combined porewater pressure sensing, time-lapse photography and oxygen imaging to quantify the durations and frequencies of tellinid irrigation activity and the associated oxygen dynamics in the sediment. Porewater pressure records of all tellinids were dominated by intermittent porewater pressurization, induced by periodic water injection into the sediment through their excurrent siphons, which resulted in intermittent oxygen supply to subsurface sediments. The irrigation (two–12 minutes long) and intervals between subsequent irrigation bouts (1.5–13 minutes) varied among tellinid species and individual sizes. For large M. liliana and M. nasuta, the average intervals between irrigation bouts were sufficiently long (10 minutes and four minutes, respectively) to allow complete oxygen consumption in between irrigation bouts in all tested sediment types. Irrigation patterns of smaller conspecifics and the smaller species M. balthica were characterized by significantly shorter separation of irrigation bouts, which resulted in more continuous oxygenation of the sediment. Transport-reaction modeling confirmed these species- and size-specific geochemical signatures and indicated that the geochemical character of the sediment is largely conditioned by the interplay between temporal irrigation patterns and sedimentary oxygen consumption rates. For large tellinids, model simulations indicated that oscillatory rather than stationary geochemical conditions are prevalent in a wide range of sediment types, with oxic pockets collapsing completely between periods of active irrigation. Based on the model results we developed analytical approximations that allow estimation of spatio-temporal characteristics of sediment oxygenation for a wide range of sediment types and infaunal activity patterns. Our results emphasize the need to consider the intermittent nature of bioirrigation when studying the geochemical impact of infauna in permeable sediments.",
keywords = "1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology",
author = "Nils Volkenborn and Christof Meile and Lubos Polerecky and Pilditch, {Conrad A.} and Alf Norkko and Joanna Norkko and Hewitt, {Judi E.} and Thrush, {Simon F.} and Wethey, {David S.} and Woodin, {Sarah A.}",
year = "2012",
doi = "10.1357/002224012806770955",
language = "English",
volume = "70",
pages = "794--823",
journal = "Journal of Marine Research",
issn = "0022-2402",
publisher = "Yale University",
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Intermittent bioirrigation and oxygen dynamics in permeable sediments: An experimental and modeling study of three tellinid bivalves. / Volkenborn, Nils; Meile, Christof; Polerecky, Lubos; Pilditch, Conrad A.; Norkko, Alf; Norkko, Joanna; Hewitt, Judi E.; Thrush, Simon F.; Wethey, David S.; Woodin, Sarah A.

In: Journal of Marine Research, Vol. 70, No. 6, 2012, p. 794-823.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Intermittent bioirrigation and oxygen dynamics in permeable sediments: An experimental and modeling study of three tellinid bivalves

AU - Volkenborn, Nils

AU - Meile, Christof

AU - Polerecky, Lubos

AU - Pilditch, Conrad A.

AU - Norkko, Alf

AU - Norkko, Joanna

AU - Hewitt, Judi E.

AU - Thrush, Simon F.

AU - Wethey, David S.

AU - Woodin, Sarah A.

PY - 2012

Y1 - 2012

N2 - To explore the dynamic nature of geochemical conditions in bioirrigated marine permeable sediments, we studied the hydraulic activity of three tellinacean bivalve molluscs (the Pacific species Macoma nasuta and Macomona liliana, and the northern Atlantic and Pacific species Macoma balthica). We combined porewater pressure sensing, time-lapse photography and oxygen imaging to quantify the durations and frequencies of tellinid irrigation activity and the associated oxygen dynamics in the sediment. Porewater pressure records of all tellinids were dominated by intermittent porewater pressurization, induced by periodic water injection into the sediment through their excurrent siphons, which resulted in intermittent oxygen supply to subsurface sediments. The irrigation (two–12 minutes long) and intervals between subsequent irrigation bouts (1.5–13 minutes) varied among tellinid species and individual sizes. For large M. liliana and M. nasuta, the average intervals between irrigation bouts were sufficiently long (10 minutes and four minutes, respectively) to allow complete oxygen consumption in between irrigation bouts in all tested sediment types. Irrigation patterns of smaller conspecifics and the smaller species M. balthica were characterized by significantly shorter separation of irrigation bouts, which resulted in more continuous oxygenation of the sediment. Transport-reaction modeling confirmed these species- and size-specific geochemical signatures and indicated that the geochemical character of the sediment is largely conditioned by the interplay between temporal irrigation patterns and sedimentary oxygen consumption rates. For large tellinids, model simulations indicated that oscillatory rather than stationary geochemical conditions are prevalent in a wide range of sediment types, with oxic pockets collapsing completely between periods of active irrigation. Based on the model results we developed analytical approximations that allow estimation of spatio-temporal characteristics of sediment oxygenation for a wide range of sediment types and infaunal activity patterns. Our results emphasize the need to consider the intermittent nature of bioirrigation when studying the geochemical impact of infauna in permeable sediments.

AB - To explore the dynamic nature of geochemical conditions in bioirrigated marine permeable sediments, we studied the hydraulic activity of three tellinacean bivalve molluscs (the Pacific species Macoma nasuta and Macomona liliana, and the northern Atlantic and Pacific species Macoma balthica). We combined porewater pressure sensing, time-lapse photography and oxygen imaging to quantify the durations and frequencies of tellinid irrigation activity and the associated oxygen dynamics in the sediment. Porewater pressure records of all tellinids were dominated by intermittent porewater pressurization, induced by periodic water injection into the sediment through their excurrent siphons, which resulted in intermittent oxygen supply to subsurface sediments. The irrigation (two–12 minutes long) and intervals between subsequent irrigation bouts (1.5–13 minutes) varied among tellinid species and individual sizes. For large M. liliana and M. nasuta, the average intervals between irrigation bouts were sufficiently long (10 minutes and four minutes, respectively) to allow complete oxygen consumption in between irrigation bouts in all tested sediment types. Irrigation patterns of smaller conspecifics and the smaller species M. balthica were characterized by significantly shorter separation of irrigation bouts, which resulted in more continuous oxygenation of the sediment. Transport-reaction modeling confirmed these species- and size-specific geochemical signatures and indicated that the geochemical character of the sediment is largely conditioned by the interplay between temporal irrigation patterns and sedimentary oxygen consumption rates. For large tellinids, model simulations indicated that oscillatory rather than stationary geochemical conditions are prevalent in a wide range of sediment types, with oxic pockets collapsing completely between periods of active irrigation. Based on the model results we developed analytical approximations that allow estimation of spatio-temporal characteristics of sediment oxygenation for a wide range of sediment types and infaunal activity patterns. Our results emphasize the need to consider the intermittent nature of bioirrigation when studying the geochemical impact of infauna in permeable sediments.

KW - 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology

U2 - 10.1357/002224012806770955

DO - 10.1357/002224012806770955

M3 - Article

VL - 70

SP - 794

EP - 823

JO - Journal of Marine Research

JF - Journal of Marine Research

SN - 0022-2402

IS - 6

ER -