Influence of nontrophic interactions between benthic invertebrates on river sediment processes: a microcosm study

Abstract : The main objective of this study was to measure the impact of benthic invertebrate diversity on river sediment processes. We quantified the effects of interactions between three taxa (asellids, chironomid larvae, and tubificid worms). The impacts of different taxa richness treatments were measured on sediment reworking, O2 concentrations, bacterial abundances, and numbers of active bacteria in slow filtration sand–gravel columns. The coefficients of sediment reworking measured in multitaxa treatments were lower than those predicted from one-taxon treatments. The interactions among invertebrates also significantly reduced O2 concentrations in sediments. These results were probably due to interactions between the different sediment structures produced by each taxon (tubes, macropores, and fecal pellets) that modified water flow and associated microbial activities in the interstitial habitat. The stimulation of aerobic microbial processes with two- and three-taxa treatments, whereas one-taxon treatments could increase or decrease O2 consumption in columns, indicates that interactions among invertebrates limited the variability of the system functioning. We suggest that, beyond a small number of detritivorous taxa, a threshold effect on bioturbation process and microbial activities was produced by animals in the experimental system. Finally, the interactions between taxa played a significant role in microbial processes in the system studied.
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Florian Mermillod-Blondin, Magali Gérino, Sabine Sauvage, Michel Creuzé Des Châtelliers. Influence of nontrophic interactions between benthic invertebrates on river sediment processes: a microcosm study. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (CJFAS), 2004, vol. 61, pp. 1817-1831. ⟨10.1139/F04-114⟩. ⟨hal-00780256⟩

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