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Biogeochemical alteration of the benthic environment by the zebra mussel Dreissena polymorpha (Pallas)

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Author(s): Anastasija Zaiko | Ričardas Paškauskas | Alina Krevš

Journal: Oceanologia
ISSN 0078-3234

Volume: 52;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 649;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: Ecosystem engineer | Soft bottom | Nitrogen | Phosphorus | Mineralization | Oxygen consumption

ABSTRACT
The aim of this study was to verify whether the biogeochemicalfeatures (e.g. concentration of nutrients, oxygen consumption,mineralization rate, Eh) of sediments changed by the zebra musselor its shell deposits differ from those in the ambient soft bottom,and how these differences are related to the structure of benthicmacroinvertebrates. In 2006 three sampling sessions were carriedout in the Curonian Lagoon, SE Baltic Sea, at three pre-definedsites, corresponding to different bottom types: zebra musselbed, zebra mussel shell deposits and bare soft sediments. Similarityanalysis of biogeochemical parameters indicated that bottom sedimentscovered with zebra mussel shell deposits were rather distinctfrom the other bottom types because of the lowest total organicmatter mineralization rate and highest organic carbon, totalphosphorus and total nitrogen content. The parameters measuredin the zebra mussel bed did not deviate conspicuously from thevalues observed in bare bottoms, except for the higher rate ofoxygen consumption in the upper sediment layer. Unsuitable anoxicconditions on the one hand and the "attractive" shelters providedby zebra mussels on the other hand may promote the epifaunallife style in the habitats formed by dense zebra mussel clumps.
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