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      Impact of polychaetes ( Nereis spp. and Arenicola marina) on carbon biogeochemistry in coastal marine sediments†

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      Geochemical Transactions

      BioMed Central

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          Abstract

          Known effects of bioturbation by common polychaetes ( Nereis spp. and Arenicola marina) in Northern European coastal waters on sediment carbon diagenesis is summarized and assessed. The physical impact of irrigation and reworking activity of the involved polychaete species is evaluated and related to their basic biology. Based on past and present experimental work, it is concluded that effects of bioturbation on carbon diagenesis from manipulated laboratory experiments cannot be directly extrapolated to in situ conditions. The 45–260% flux ( e.g., CO 2 release) enhancement found in the laboratory is much higher than usually observed in the field (10–25%). Thus, the faunal induced enhancement of microbial carbon oxidation in natural sediments instead causes a reduction of the organic matter inventory rather than an increased release of CO 2 across the sediment/water interface. The relative decrease in organic inventory ( G b /G u) is inversely related to the relative increase in microbial capacity for organic matter decay ( k b /k u). The equilibrium is controlled by the balance between organic input (deposition of organic matter at the sediment surface) and the intensity of bioturbation. Introduction of oxygen to subsurface sediment and removal of metabolites are considered the two most important underlying mechanisms for the stimulation of carbon oxidation by burrowing fauna. Introduction of oxygen to deep sediment layers of low microbial activity, either by downward irrigation transport of overlying oxic water or by upward reworking transport of sediment to the oxic water column will increase carbon oxidation of anaerobically refractory organic matter. It appears that the irrigation effect is larger than and to a higher degree dependent on animal density than the reworking effect. Enhancement of anaerobic carbon oxidation by removal of metabolites (reduced diffusion scale) may cause a significant increase in total sediment metabolism. This is caused by three possible mechanisms: (i) combined mineralization and biological uptake; (ii) combined mineralization and abiogenic precipitation; and (iii) alleviation of metabolite inhibition. Finally, some suggestions for future work on bioturbation effects are presented, including: (i) experimental verification of metabolite inhibition in bioturbated sediments; (ii) mapping and quantification of the role of metals as electron acceptors in bioturbated sediments; and (iii) identification of microbial community composition by the use of new molecular biological techniques. These three topics are not intended to cover all unresolved aspects of bioturbation, but should rather be considered a list of obvious gaps in our knowledge and present new and appealing approaches.

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          Most cited references 39

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          The anaerobic degradation of organic matter in Danish coastal sediments: iron reduction, manganese reduction, and sulfate reduction.

          We used a combination of porewater and solid phase analysis, as well as a series of sediment incubations, to quantify organic carbon oxidation by dissimilatory Fe reduction, Mn reduction, and sulfate reduction, in sediments from the Skagerrak (located off the northeast coast of Jutland, Denmark). In the deep portion of the basin, surface Mn enrichments reached 3.5 wt%, and Mn reduction was the only important anaerobic carbon oxidation process in the upper 10 cm of the sediment. In the less Mn-rich sediments from intermediate depths in the basin, Fe reduction ranged from somewhat less, to far more important than sulfate reduction. Most of the Mn reduction in these sediments may have been coupled to the oxidation of acid volatile sulfides (AVS), rather than to dissimilatory reduction. High rates of metal oxide reduction at all sites were driven by active recycling of both Fe and Mn, encouraged by bioturbation. Recycling was so rapid that the residence time of Fe and Mn oxides, with respect to reduction, ranged from 70-250 days. These results require that, on average, an atom of Fe or Mn is oxidized and reduced between 100-300 times before ultimate burial into the sediment. We observed that dissolved Mn2+ was completely removed onto fully oxidized Mn oxides until the oxidation level of the oxides was reduced to about 3.8, presumably reflecting the saturation by Mn2+ of highly reactive surface adsorption sites. Fully oxidized Mn oxides in sediments, then, may act as a cap preventing Mn2+ escape. We speculate that in shallow sediments of the Skagerrak, surface Mn oxides are present in a somewhat reduced oxidation level (< 3.8) allowing Mn2+ to escape, and perhaps providing the Mn2+ which enriches sediments of the deep basin.
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            Manganese, iron and sulfur cycling in a coastal marine sediment, Aarhus bay, Denmark

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              Quantifying solute distributions in the bioturbated zone of marine sediments by defining an average microenvironment

               Robert Aller (1980)
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Geochem Trans
                Geochemical Transactions
                BioMed Central (London )
                1467-4866
                2001
                30 October 2001
                : 2
                : 92
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Institute of Biology, Odense University, SDU, DK-5230 Odense M, Denmark
                Article
                1467-4866-2-92
                10.1186/1467-4866-2-92
                1475601
                16759424
                Copyright © 2001 The Royal Society of Chemistry and the Division of Geochemistry of the American Chemical Society
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