Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Report of the Working Group on Marine Benthal and Renewable Energy Developments (WGMBRED) : 6-9 March 2018, Galway, Ireland
Dannheim, Jennifer ; Gill, Andrew B. ; Boon, Arjen ; Brzana, Radoslaw ; Coolen, J.W.P. ; Dauvin, Jean-Claude ; Degraer, Steven ; Jackson, Angus ; Janas, Urszula ; Mesel, I.G. de; O'Beirn, Francis ; Pezy, Jean-Philippe ; Raoux, Aurore ; Sheehan, Emma ; Vanaverbeke, Jan - \ 2018
International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES WGMBRED Report 2018/HAPISG:02) - 68 p.
Benthic biodiversity on old platforms, young wind farms, and rocky reefs
Coolen, Joop W.P. ; Weide, Babeth Van Der; Cuperus, Joël ; Blomberg, Maxime ; Moorsel, Godfried W.N.M. Van; Faasse, Marco A. ; Bos, Oscar G. ; Degraer, Steven ; Lindeboom, Han J. - \ 2018
ICES Journal of Marine Science 2018 (2018). - ISSN 1054-3139 - 16 p.
Benthos - marine growth - platforms - reef - species richness - wind farm
The introduction of artificial hard substrates in an area dominated by a sandy seabed increases habitat available to epifouling organisms. To investigate this, samples were taken on old offshore oil and gas platforms, and data were compared with data of a young wind farm and a natural reef. Depth, sampling date, abundance of Mytilus edulis, Psammechinus miliaris, Metridium dianthus, and the presence of Tubulariidae and substrate (rock or steel) all correlated with species richness. Multivariate analysis showed a large overlap in communities on steel and rock and between the wind farm and platforms. The community changed over a gradient from deep rocks to shallow steel substrate, but no strong community differentiation was observed. Deep steel was more similar to natural rocks than shallow steel. When an artificial reef is intended to be colonized by communities similar to those on a natural reef, its structure should resemble a natural reef as much as possible.
Understanding the influence of man-made structures on the ecosystem functions of the North Sea (UNDINE)
Dannheim, Jennifer ; Beerman, Jan ; Lacroix, Geneviève ; Mesel, Ilse De; Kerckhof, Francis ; Schon, Isa ; Degraer, Steven ; Birchenough, Silvana N.R. ; Garcia, Clement ; Coolen, J.W.P. ; Lindeboom, H.J. ; Luttikhuizen, Pieternella C. - \ 2018
Wageningen : Wageningen Marine Research - 47 p.
Environmental benefits of leaving offshore infrastructure in the ocean
Fowler, Ashley M. ; Jørgensen, A.M. ; Svendsen, Jon C. ; Macreadie, Peter I. ; Jones, Daniel O.B. ; Boon, Arjen R. ; Booth, David J. ; Brabant, Robin ; Callahan, Emily ; Claisse, Jeremy T. ; Dahlgren, Thomas G. ; Degraer, Steven ; Dokken, Quenton R. ; Gill, Andrew B. ; Johns, David G. ; Leewis, Robert J. ; Lindeboom, Han J. ; Linden, Olof ; May, Roel ; Murk, Albertinka J. ; Ottersen, Geir ; Schroeder, Donna M. ; Shastri, Sunil M. ; Teilmann, Jonas ; Todd, Victoria ; Hoey, Gert Van; Vanaverbeke, Jan ; Coolen, Joop W.P. - \ 2018
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment (2018). - ISSN 1540-9295 - 8 p.
The removal of thousands of structures associated with oil and gas development from the world’s oceans is well underway, yet the environmental impacts of this decommissioning practice remain unknown. Similar impacts will be associated with the eventual removal of offshore wind turbines. We conducted a global survey of environmental experts to guide best decommissioning practices in the North Sea, a region with a substantial removal burden. In contrast to current regulations, 94.7% of experts (36 out of 38) agreed that a more flexible case-by- case approach to decommissioning could benefit the North Sea environment. Partial removal options were considered to deliver better environmental outcomes than complete removal for platforms, but both approaches were equally supported for wind turbines. Key considerations identified for
decommissioning were biodiversity enhancement, provision of reef habitat, and protection from bottom trawling, all of which are negatively affected by complete removal. We provide recommendations to guide the revision of offshore decommissioning policy, including a temporary suspension of obligatory removal.
Recent findings of wild european flat oysters ostrea edulis (Linnaeus, 1758) in belgian and dutch offshore waters : New perspectives for offshore oyster reef restoration in the southern north sea
Kerckhof, Francis ; Coolen, Joop W.P. ; Rumes, Bob ; Degraer, Steven - \ 2018
Belgian Journal of Zoology 148 (2018)1. - ISSN 0777-6276 - p. 13 - 24.
Benthos - Coastal - Endangered species - Invertebrates - Recovery - Restoration - Subtidal
The European flat oyster, Ostrea edulis, is an emblematic and ecologically important species that was fished to virtual extinction in Belgian and Dutch waters in the 19th century. We report on recent findings of live specimens in Belgian and Dutch waters, an indication for the presence of O. edulis in these waters. Though small, these relict populations provide possibilities for natural recovery of O. edulis reefs in Belgian and Dutch waters, provided the oyster’s habitat requirements are restored (e.g., exclusion of bottom disturbance). We suggest investigating whether a natural, yet slow, recovery using fisheries closures and gravel bed restoration is a feasible alternative to the currently envisaged human-mediated re-introduction of O. edulis in the North Sea. We identify and address the challenge of O. edulis detection and identification as an important issue blurring the true presence and distribution of oysters.
RECON: Reef effect structures in the North Sea, islands or connections? : Summary report
Coolen, J.W.P. ; Jak, R.G. ; Weide, B.E. van der; Cuperus, J. ; Luttikhuizen, P. ; Schutter, M. ; Dorenbosch, M. ; Driessen, F. ; Lengkeek, W. ; Blomberg, M. ; Moorsel, G. van; Faasse, M.A. ; Bos, O.G. ; Dias, I.M. ; Spierings, M. ; Glorius, S.G. ; Becking, L.E. ; Schol, T. ; Crooijmans, R. ; Boon, A.R. ; Pelt, H. van; Kleissen, F. ; Gerla, D. ; Degraer, S. ; Lindeboom, H.J. - \ 2018
Den Helder : Wageningen Marine Research (Wageningen Marine Research rapport C074/17A) - 33
North Sea reefs : benthic biodiversity of artificial and rocky reefs in the southern North Sea
Coolen, Joop Waltherus Petrus - \ 2017
University. Promotor(en): S. Degraer. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789463430876 - 199
coral reefs - benthos - biodiversity - north sea - marine ecology - marine organisms - ecosystems - koraalriffen - biodiversiteit - noordzee - mariene ecologie - zee-organismen - ecosystemen

The objective of the research presented in this thesis was to understand the patterns of benthic biodiversity on reefs in the North Sea. To gain this understanding, I studied which species are present on natural and artificial reefs, what environmental and biotic variables influence the presence and absence of a selection of these species and one of the possible pathways by which these species may colonise the reefs studied; the stepping stone effect. The first goal was to increase the available knowledge on which species are present at reefs. The second goal was to understand the patterns observed in the variation of species at these reefs. The third goal was to evaluate whether Mytilus edulis utilises offshore artificial structures as stepping stone to colonise very far offshore locations. The final goal was to assess the impact artificial reefs have on the benthic biodiversity of the North Sea. To attain these goals, natural and artificial reefs were sampled using diver operated airlift samplers and box corers. To evaluate the effects generalised linear and additive models were created. When available, additional data from other sources were also used.

The following conclusions are drawn: Lanice conchilega is an ecosystem engineer creating intermediate sand-reef systems. When rocky reefs are present on a sandy bottom, local biodiversity is doubled. Distributions of the native Caprella linearis and the invasive Caprella mutica showed a significant difference, demonstrating that C. linearis’ habitat preference does not fully overlap with that of C. mutica. Thus, the native and alien Caprellids are likely to be able to co-exist in the North Sea. M. edulis presence increases habitat heterogeneity, which increases species richness. Mytilus edulis uses offshore structures as stepping stones to colonise locations in the North Sea that cannot be reached in a single generation.

Depth, location effect and habitat type influence the species composition on North Sea reefs most strongly. The relation between depth and species richness on artificial reefs is non-linear, with a maximum at intermediate depths. Although substrates with mixed surface orientation (i.a. rocks) hold the most species rich communities, biodiversity is also strongly influenced by M. edulis and Psammechinus miliaris. When artificial reefs are to be colonised by communities that are similar to natural reefs, their structures should resemble natural reefs as much as possible.

Towards answering the "so what" question in marine renewables environmental impact assessment
Degraer, Steven ; Birchenough, Silvana N.R. ; Braeckman, Ulrike ; Coolen, J.W.P. ; Dannheim, Jennifer ; Mesel, Ilse De; Gregoire, Marilaure ; Kerckhof, Francis ; Lacroix, Geneviève ; Lindeboom, H.J. ; Moens, Tom ; Soetaert, K. ; Vanaverbeke, Jan ; Hoey, Gert van - \ 2016
Geophysical Research Abstracts 18 (2016). - ISSN 1029-7006 - 1 p.
Long-term research challenges in wind energy – a research agenda by the European Academy of Wind Energy
Kuik, G.A.M. van; Peinke, J. ; Nijssen, R. ; Lekou, D. ; Mann, J. ; Sørensen, J.N. ; Ferreira, C. ; van Wingerden, J.W. ; Schlipf, D. ; Gebraad, P. ; Polinder, H. ; Abrahamsen, A. ; van Bussel, G.J.W. ; Sørensen, J.D. ; Tavner, P. ; Bottasso, C.L. ; Muskulus, M. ; Matha, D. ; Lindeboom, H.J. ; Degraer, S. ; Kramer, O. ; Lehnhoff, S. ; Sonnenschein, M. ; Sørensen, P.E. ; Künneke, R.W. ; Morthorst, P.E. ; Skytte, K. - \ 2016
Wind Energy Science 1 (2016)1. - p. 1 - 39.
The European Academy of Wind Energy (eawe), representing universities and institutes with a significant wind energy programme in 14 countries, has discussed the long-term research challenges in wind energy. In contrast to research agendas addressing short- to medium-term research activities, this eawe document takes a longer-term perspective, addressing the scientific knowledge base that is required to develop wind energy beyond the applications of today and tomorrow. In other words, this long-term research agenda is driven by problems and curiosity, addressing basic research and fundamental knowledge in 11 research areas, ranging from physics and design to environmental and societal aspects. Because of the very nature of this initiative, this document does not intend to be permanent or complete. It shows the vision of the experts of the eawe, but other views may be possible. We sincerely hope that it will spur an even more intensive discussion worldwide within the wind
energy community.
Data from: Distribution of the invasive Caprella mutica Schurin, 1935 and native Caprella linearis (Linnaeus, 1767) on artificial hard substrates in the North Sea: separation by habitat
Coolen, J.W.P. ; Lengkeek, Wouter ; Degraer, Steven ; Kerckhof, Francis ; Kirkwood, R.J. ; Lindeboom, H.J. - \ 2016
artificial reefs - invasive species - oil & gas platforms - wind farms - shipwrecks - Caprella linearis - Phtisica marina - Pseudoprotella phasma - Caprella tuberculata - Caprella mutica - Caprella equilibra - Caprellidae - holocene
Studying offshore natural and artificial hard substrates in the southern North Sea (51ºN–57ºN/1ºW–9ºE), the invasive introduced Japanese skeleton shrimp Caprella mutica Schurin, 1935 was found to co-exist with the native Caprella linearis (Linnaeus, 1767) only on near-shore locations that had an intertidal zone (e.g., wind farm foundations). In contrast, on far offshore and strictly subtidal locations, such as shipwrecks and rocky reefs, only C. linearis was found. Based on these exploratory observations, we hypothesised that artificial structures that are only subtidal are inhabited exclusively by C. linearis, and never by C. mutica. To test this hypothesis and understand factors driving each species’ habitat preferences, habitat suitability models were constructed using generalised additive models, based on samples collected in 2013–2015 from offshore gas platforms, buoys, shipwrecks, and rocky reefs and combined with data from other published and unpublished surveys (2001–2014). The models showed that the presence of C. mutica is explained by the availability of intertidal and floating hard substrates, suspended particulate matter density (SPM), mean annual sea surface temperature, salinity, and current velocity. The C. linearis model included subtidal hard substrates, SPM, salinity, temperature, and current velocity. The modelled distributions showed a significant difference, demonstrating that C. linearis’ habitat preference does not fully overlap with that of C. mutica. Thus, the native and alien Caprella species are likely to be able to co-exist in the North Sea.
Offshore environmental aspects
Lindeboom, H.J. ; Degraer, S. - \ 2016
In: Long-term research challenges in wind energy / van Kuik, Gijs, Peinke, Joachim, Springer International Publishing Switzerland (Research Topics in Wind Energy ) - ISBN 9783319469188 - p. 77 - 81.

The number of offshore wind farms (OWFs) is increasing rapidly, leading to questions about the cumulative environmental impact of such farms. The major impacts are caused by the noise produced in the building phase, the new hard substratum, the moving rotor blades, possible underwater noise in the production phase and the exclusion of fisheries. Danish, Dutch, British, German and Belgium monitoring programmes in individual wind farms have shown, in general, an increase in biodiversity due to the hard substratum, as well as changes in benthic and fish fauna due to the presence of the foundations and further away due to exclusion of fisheries and attraction or avoidance by some bird species or sea mammals. These effects can be qualified as partly negative, partly positive and partly unknown or so far unclear. In particular, the cumulative effects of the increasing number of wind farms need further attention. Negative effects of wind farms include effects of noise on sea mammals and possibly fish, avoidance behaviour by some bird species, and bird and bat collisions with turning rotor blades. If OWFs want to be real suppliers of green energy, ways to mitigate the negative effects need further research and development of innovative techniques.

Distribution of the invasive Caprella mutica Schurin, 1935 and native Caprella linearis (Linnaeus, 1767) on artificial hard substrates in the North Sea : Separation by habitat
Coolen, Joop W.P. ; Lengkeek, Wouter ; Degraer, Steven ; Kerckhof, Francis ; Kirkwood, Roger J. ; Lindeboom, Han J. - \ 2016
Aquatic Invasions 11 (2016)4. - ISSN 1798-6540 - p. 437 - 449.
Artificial reefs - Habitat suitability modelling - Invasive species - Oil and gas - Shipwrecks - Species distribution - Wind farms

Studying offshore natural and artificial hard substrates in the southern North Sea (51ºN–57ºN/1ºW–9ºE), the invasive introduced Japanese skeleton shrimp Caprella mutica Schurin, 1935 was found to co-exist with the native Caprella linearis (Linnaeus, 1767) only on near-shore locations that had an intertidal zone (e.g., wind farm foundations). In contrast, on far offshore and strictly subtidal locations, such as shipwrecks and rocky reefs, only C. linearis was found. Based on these exploratory observations, we hypothesised that artificial structures that are only subtidal are inhabited exclusively by C. linearis, and never by C. mutica. To test this hypothesis and understand factors driving each species’ habitat preferences, habitat suitability models were constructed using generalised additive models, based on samples collected in 2013–2015 from offshore gas platforms, buoys, shipwrecks, and rocky reefs and combined with data from other published and unpublished surveys (2001–2014). The models showed that the presence of C. mutica is explained by the availability of intertidal and floating hard substrates, suspended particulate matter density (SPM), mean annual sea surface temperature, salinity, and current velocity. The C. linearis model included subtidal hard substrates, SPM, salinity, temperature, and current velocity. The modelled distributions showed a significant difference, demonstrating that C. linearis’ habitat preference does not fully overlap with that of C. mutica. Thus, the native and alien Caprella species are likely to be able to co-exist in the North Sea.

Preface: the WinMon.BE 2013 conference: steps towards an efficient and effective offshore wind farm environmental impact assessment
Degraer, S. ; Dannheim, J. ; Gill, A.B. ; Lindeboom, H.J. ; Wilhelmsson, D. - \ 2015
Hydrobiologia 756 (2015)1. - ISSN 0018-8158 - p. 1 - 2.
Offshore wind park monitoring programmes, lessons learned and recommendations for the future
Lindeboom, H.J. ; Degraer, S. ; Dannheim, J. ; Gill, A.B. ; Wilhelmsson, D. - \ 2015
Hydrobiologia 756 (2015)1. - ISSN 0018-8158 - p. 169 - 180.
renewable energy development - north-sea - communities - impacts - benthos - farms - power - biodiversity - assemblages - management
Over a decade of monitoring offshore wind park environmental impact triggered a reflection on the overall objectives and how to best continue with the monitoring programmes. Essentially, basic monitoring has to be rationalised at the level of the likelihood of impact detection, the meaningfulness of impact size and representativeness of the findings. Targeted monitoring is crucial and should continue to be applied to disentangle processes behind observed impacts, for instance the overarching artificial reef effect caused by wind parks. The major challenge, however, remains to achieve a reliable assessment of the cumulative impacts. A continuous international consultation and collaboration with marine scientists, managers, government officials and industry will be needed to ensure an optimisation of the future monitoring programmes.
Climate change and marine benthos: a review of existing research and future directions in the North Atlantic
Birchenough, S.N.R. ; Reiss, H. ; Degraer, S. ; Craeymeersch, J.A.M. ; Mesel, I.G. de - \ 2015
Wiley interdisciplinary reviews: climate change 6 (2015)2. - ISSN 1757-7780 - p. 203 - 223.
long-term changes - bivalve macoma-balthica - coral lophelia-pertusa - western english-channel - gulf-of-mexico - sea-level rise - ocean acidification - wadden sea - mytilus-edulis - deep-water
There is growing evidence that climate change could affect marine benthic systems. This review provides information of climate change-related impacts on the marine benthos in the North Atlantic. We cover a number of related research aspects, mainly in connection to two key issues. First, is the relationship between different physical aspects of climate change and the marine benthos. This section covers: (a) the responses to changes in seawater temperature (biogeographic shifts and phenology); (b) altered Hydrodynamics; (c) ocean acidification (OA); and (d) sea-level rise-coastal squeeze. The second major issue addressed is the possible integrated impact of climate change on the benthos. This work is based on relationships between proxies for climate variability, notably the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index, and the long-term marine benthos. The final section of our review provides a series of conclusions and future directions to support climate change research on marine benthic systems.
Sensitivity assessment as a tool for spatial and temporal gear-based fisheries management
Depestele, Jochen ; Courtens, Wouter ; Degraer, Steven ; Haelters, Jan ; Hostens, Kris ; Leopold, Mardik ; Pinn, Eunice ; Merckx, Bea ; Polet, Hans ; Rabaut, Marijn ; Reiss, Henning ; Stienen, Eric ; Vandendriessche, Sofie ; Volckaert, Filip A.M. ; Vincx, Magda - \ 2014
Ocean & Coastal Management 102 (2014)Pt. A. - ISSN 0964-5691 - p. 149 - 160.
Comparing ecosystem effects of fishing gears - Ecosystem-based management - Evaluation of fishing pressures - Low impact gear - Marine spatial planning - Risk - Uncertainty

Assessment of ecosystem health is required in the ecosystem approach to fisheries management (EAFM). Mitigation measures that address impacts exceeding the acceptable level also require assessment. The various fishing métiers have different ecosystem impacts and this makes it difficult to assess them jointly. Sensitivity of the ecosystem to individual fishing métiers has been assessed previously, but to our knowledge, concurrent comparisons of different métiers on the same ecosystem have not been done. In this study, we combined the main characteristics of established approaches to sensitivity assessment into a single roadmap, called Sensitivity Assessment of Gear Effects (SAGE). SAGE is a widely applicable, three-step process to assess the ecological concerns of EAFM. The methodology used in the SAGE roadmap is built on a scoring system, which then results in a sensitivity index of the ecosystem components to the fishing métiers. The scoring system is based on a combination of expert judgement and data, both qualitative and quantitative. It allows for cross-evaluation of fishing métiers and ecosystem components. Sensitivity maps are created using the spatial and temporal distribution patterns of the ecosystem components in the index. The uncertainty of the sensitivity scores and maps are estimated through a pedigree index. The index is based on proxy representation, empirical basis, methodological rigour, theoretical understanding and degree of validation, all of which measure the strength of the research results. The proposed methodology is illustrated using a case study that compares the ecosystem effects of beam trawl and trammel net fisheries. The selected examples did not result in unexpected outcomes, but were rather chosen to evaluate the applicability of our methodology. They illustrate how a semi-quantitative framework, which includes the uncertainties associated with scientific assessments, can deliver holistic advice to fisheries managers in a fully transparent manner.

On the Myths of Indicator Species: Issues and Further Consideration in the Use of Static Concepts for Ecological Applications
Zettler, M.L. ; Proffitt, C.E. ; Darr, A. ; Degraer, S. ; Devriese, L. ; Greathead, C. ; Kotta, J. ; Magni, P. ; Martin, G. ; Reiss, H. ; Speybroeck, J. ; Tagliapietra, D. ; Hoey, G. van; Ysebaert, T. - \ 2013
PLoS One 8 (2013)10. - ISSN 1932-6203
hediste-diversicolor polychaeta - quantile regression splines - pollution-induced change - professional judgment - biotic indexes - objective selection - benthic communities - salinity gradient - organic-carbon - baltic sea
The use of static indicator species, in which species are expected to have a similar sensitivity or tolerance to either natural or human-induced stressors, does not account for possible shifts in tolerance along natural environmental gradients and between biogeographic regions. Their indicative value may therefore be considered at least questionable. In this paper we demonstrate how species responses (i.e. abundance) to changes in sediment grain size and organic matter (OM) alter along a salinity gradient and conclude with a plea for prudency when interpreting static indicator-based quality indices. Six model species (three polychaetes, one amphipod and two bivalves) from the North Sea, Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean Sea region were selected. Our study demonstrated that there were no generic relationships between environment and biota and half of the studied species showed different responses in different seas. Consequently, the following points have to be carefully considered when applying static indicator-based quality indices: (1) species tolerances and preferences may change along environmental gradients and between different biogeographic regions, (2) as environment modifies species autecology, there is a need to adjust indicator species lists along major environmental gradients and (3) there is a risk of including sibling or cryptic species in calculating the index value of a species.
The role of structuring benthos for juvenile flatfish
Rabaut, M. ; Audfroid Calderon, M. ; Moortel, L. van de; Dalfsen, J.A. van; Vincx, M. ; Degraer, S. ; Desroy, N. - \ 2013
Journal of Sea Research 84 (2013). - ISSN 1385-1101 - p. 70 - 76.
plaice pleuronectes-platessa - polychaete lanice-conchilega - sole solea-solea - platichthys-flesus - feeding ecology - habitat suitability - l. - community - flounder - growth
Within coastal nurseries, the distribution of juvenile flatfish may depend on small-scale habitat variability. The presence of ecosystem engineers is known to have important impacts in coastal sediments. Lanice conchilega is a well-known marine ecosystem engineer of shallow soft bottom ecosystems, shaping the macrobenthic community and attracting flatfish. The present study examines the relation between juvenile flatfish and L. conchilega reefs through two experiments. In a field experiment in the Dutch part of the North Sea, the benthic habitat is evaluated by comparing relative differences in numbers of juvenile flatfish between ecosystem engineered habitats and adjacent bare sand (i.e. non-ecosystem engineered) habitats. The hypothetical shelter seeking behaviour was further examined using stomach content analyses. Results show that juvenile plaice Pleuronectes platessa was the dominant species within the tube worm habitat and the species selects specifically for this biogenic habitat. This selection was explained as feeding behaviour. In a complementary laboratory study, food was excluded and the shelter function of the ecosystem engineered habitat was investigated. This experiment quantifies the selection for this habitat by juveniles of the common sole Solea solea. Results from the flume experiment, manipulating the number of tube worms, show that distribution of sole was not random when current velocities are high. The selected habitat is the one with low density tube worm aggregations. Overall, we conclude that structuring benthos plays an important role for juvenile flatfish, both as refuge and as feeding ground
Organism-Sediment Interactions Govern Post-Hypoxia Recovery of Ecosystem Functioning
Colen, C. van; Rossi, F. ; Montserrat, F. ; Andersson, M.G.I. ; Gribsholt, B. ; Herman, P.M.J. ; Degraer, S. ; Vincx, M. ; Ysebaert, T. ; Middelburg, J.J. - \ 2012
PLoS One 7 (2012)11. - ISSN 1932-6203
coastal marine-sediments - bacterial assemblages - intertidal sediments - benthic community - tidal flat - biodiversity - diversity - model - bioturbation - biogeochemistry
Hypoxia represents one of the major causes of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning loss for coastal waters. Since eutrophication-induced hypoxic events are becoming increasingly frequent and intense, understanding the response of ecosystems to hypoxia is of primary importance to understand and predict the stability of ecosystem functioning. Such ecological stability may greatly depend on the recovery patterns of communities and the return time of the system properties associated to these patterns. Here, we have examined how the reassembly of a benthic community contributed to the recovery of ecosystem functioning following experimentally-induced hypoxia in a tidal flat. We demonstrate that organism-sediment interactions that depend on organism size and relate to mobility traits and sediment reworking capacities are generally more important than recovering species richness to set the return time of the measured sediment processes and properties. Specifically, increasing macrofauna bioturbation potential during community reassembly significantly contributed to the recovery of sediment processes and properties such as denitrification, bedload sediment transport, primary production and deep pore water ammonium concentration. Such bioturbation potential was due to the replacement of the small-sized organisms that recolonised at early stages by large-sized bioturbating organisms, which had a disproportionately stronger influence on sediment. This study suggests that the complete recovery of organism-sediment interactions is a necessary condition for ecosystem functioning recovery, and that such process requires long periods after disturbance due to the slow growth of juveniles into adult stages involved in these interactions. Consequently, repeated episodes of disturbance at intervals smaller than the time needed for the system to fully recover organism-sediment interactions may greatly impair the resilience of ecosystem functioning.
EnSIS - Ecosystem Sensivity to Invasive Species
Houziaux, J.S. ; Craeymeersch, J.A.M. ; Merckx, B. ; Kerckhof, F. ; Lancker, V. van; Courtens, W. ; Stienen, E.W.M. ; Rabaut, M. ; Perdon, K.J. ; Goudswaard, P.C. ; Hoey, G. van; Vigin, L. ; Hostens, K. ; Vincx, M. ; Degraer, S. - \ 2011
Brussels : Belgian Science Policy - 100 p.
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