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.

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Bioturbation and erosion rates along the soil-hillslope conveyor belt, part 1: Insights from single-grain feldspar luminescence
Román-Sánchez, Andrea ; Reimann, Tony ; Wallinga, Jakob ; Vanwalleghem, Tom - \ 2019
Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 44 (2019)10. - ISSN 0197-9337 - p. 2051 - 2065.
bioturbation - Critical Zone - erosion - feldspar luminescence - soil formation

The interplay of bioturbation, soil production and long-term erosion–deposition in soil and landscape co-evolution is poorly understood. Single-grain post-infrared infrared stimulated luminescence (post-IR IRSL) measurements on sand-sized grains of feldspar from the soil matrix can provide direct information on all three processes. To explore the potential of this novel method, we propose a conceptual model of how post-IR IRSL-derived burial age and fraction of surface-visiting grains change with soil depth and along a hillslope catena. We then tested this conceptual model by comparison with post-IR IRSL results for 15 samples taken at different depths within four soil profiles along a hillslope catena in the Santa Clotilde Critical Zone Observatory (southern Spain). In our work, we observed clear differences in apparent post-IR IRSL burial age distributions with depth along the catena, with younger ages and more linear age–depth structure for the hill-base profile, indicating the influence of lateral deposition processes. We noted shallower soils and truncated burial age–depth functions for the two erosional mid-slope profiles, and an exponential decline of burial age with depth for the hill-top profile. We suggest that the downslope increase in the fraction of surface-visiting grains at intermediate depths (20 cm) indicates creep to be the dominant erosion process. Our study demonstrates that single-grain feldspar luminescence signature-depth profiles provide a new way of tracing vertical and lateral soil mixing and transport processes. In addition, we propose a new objective luminescence-based criterion for mapping the soil-bedrock boundary, thus producing soil depths in better agreement with geomorphological process considerations. Our work highlights the possibilities of feldspar single grain techniques to provide quantitative insights into soil production, bioturbation and erosion–deposition.

Bioturbation and erosion rates along the soil-hillslope conveyor belt, part 2: Quantification using an analytical solution of the diffusion–advection equation
Román-Sánchez, Andrea ; Laguna, Ana ; Reimann, Tony ; Giráldez, Juan Vicente ; Peña, Adolfo ; Vanwalleghem, Tom - \ 2019
Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 44 (2019)10. - ISSN 0197-9337 - p. 2066 - 2080.
bioturbation - critical zone - deposition - diffusivity - erosion - feldspar luminescence dating - sensitivity and uncertainty - soil formation

Particles on soil-mantled hillslopes are subject to downslope transport by erosion processes and vertical mixing by bioturbation. Both are key processes for understanding landscape evolution and soil formation, and affect the functioning of the critical zone. We show here how the depth–age information, derived from feldspar-based single grain post-infrared infrared stimulated luminescence (pIRIR), can be used to simultaneously quantify erosion and bioturbation processes along a hillslope. In this study, we propose, for the first time, an analytical solution for the diffusion–advection equation to calculate the diffusivity constant and erosion–deposition rates. We have fitted this model to age–depth data derived from 15 soil samples from four soil profiles along a catena located under natural grassland in the Santa Clotilde Critical Zone Observatory, in the south of Spain. A global sensitivity analysis was used to assess the relative importance of each model parameter in the output. Finally, the posterior probability density functions were calculated to evaluate the uncertainty in the model parameter estimates. The results show that the diffusivity constant at the surface varies from 11.4 to 81.9 mm2 a-1 for the hilltop and hill-base profile, respectively, and between 7.4 and 64.8 mm2 a-1 at 50 cm depth. The uncertainty in the estimation of the erosion–deposition rates was found to be too high to make a reliable estimate, probably because erosion–deposition processes are much slower than bioturbation processes in this environment. This is confirmed by a global sensitivity analysis that shows how the most important parameters controlling the age–depth structure in this environment are the diffusivity constant and regolith depth. Finally, we have found a good agreement between the soil reworking rates proposed by earlier studies, considering only particle age and depth, and the estimated diffusivity constants. The soil reworking rates are effective rates, corrected for the proportion of particles actually participating in the process.

Biogeomorphic impact of oligochaetes (Annelida) on sediment properties and Salicornia spp. seedling establishment
Regteren, M. Van; Boer, R. Ten; Meesters, E.H. ; Groot, A.V. De - \ 2017
Ecosphere 8 (2017)7. - ISSN 2150-8925 - 16 p.
bioturbation - oligochaetes - oxidation depth - pioneer vegetation - Salicornia - salt marsh - intertidal flat
Oligochaetes (Annelida) are active bioturbators that can be present in high densities in the transition zone between intertidal flats and salt marshes, though their occurrence and functional role remain understudied. This study aimed to clarify the biogeomorphic role of oligochaete bioturbation in facilitating
or hindering vegetation establishment. Two microcosm experiments were performed to assess the effect of oligochaete bioturbation on sediment properties, oxidation depth, algal biomass, seed distribution, and germination
success of pioneer species Salicornia spp. Oligochaetes created burrow networks in the sediment matrix, which, together with upward conveyor belt feeding, lead to substrate mixing. Sediment reworking rates of oligochaetes were compared with those of polychaete macrofauna. Bioturbation and bio-irrigation
of burrows can stimulate resource flows into the sediment. Oxidation depth increased almost tenfold in the presence of oligochaetes. Their bioturbation did not seem to affect sediment properties such as dry bulk density, porosity, and organic matter content. Sediment reworking, however, significantly reduced algal
biomass at the surface with possible cascading effects on sediment stability and erodibility. Oligochaete conveyor belt feeding buried Salicornia spp. seeds until below the critical germination depth, thus negatively affecting Salicornia spp. germination and seedling establishment. Our study indicates that small,
though numerous, oligochaete bioturbators may reduce lateral expansion potential of salt marshes by hindering the establishment of pioneer vegetation in the transition zone. Additionally, in dynamic fine-grained habitats, these oligochaetes have the feature to quickly oxygenate the sediment top layer.
Data from: Facultative grazing and bioturbation by macrodetritivores alter saltmarsh plant-plant interactions under stress
Howison, Ruth A. ; Olff, H. ; Puijenbroek, M.E.B. van; Smit, Christian - \ 2016
abiotic stress - bioturbation - facultative grazing - plant-plant interactions - salt marsh - stress gradient hypothesis - water logging - Elytrigia atherica - Festuca rubra - Orchestia gammarellus - holocene
The importance of positive plant-plant interactions is generally suggested to increase towards more stressful conditions, due to mutual stress amelioration between plants. Bioturbating macrodetritivores can also ameliorate stress through bioturbation, but can also become selective herbivores under food-limited conditions, making the outcome of plant-plant interactions under stress in the presence of macrodetritivores unclear. We studied how combining environmental stress (waterlogging) with the presence of the soil macrodetritivore Orchestia gammarellus affected the outcome of the interaction between two salt marsh plants: the tall, late successional Elytrigia atherica and the shorter, early successional Festuca rubra. In a replacement design competition experiment under controlled conditions, we found that soil redox potential was negatively affected by waterlogging and positively affected by the presence of O. gammarellus. The survival and shoot biomass of E. atherica was not significantly affected by waterlogging or by the presence of bioturbators. The survival and shoot biomass of F. rubra was especially decreased when waterlogging was combined with the presence of O. gammarellus, as this macrodetritivore turned into a selective grazer on F. rubra under these conditions. We found that E. atherica produced double shoot biomass and F. rubra produced much less shoot biomass in their mixed cultures than was expected from the monocultures of same waterlogging/Orchestia treatments. Hence, the presence of the bioturbator strongly promoted the competitive advantage of E. atherica over F. rubra due to the combination of stress amelioration for the first species and selective herbivory on the second species. Synthesis: This study shows that the inclusion of bioturbating macrodetritivores complicates the standard prediction that plant-plant interactions become more positive towards more stressful conditions. A novel insight is that macrodetritivores can affect the structure and diversity of plant communities through multiple mechanisms. Under benign conditions bioturbating macrodetritivores ameliorated soil conditions, permitting co-occurrence of competing plant species. At high environmental stress (waterlogging) macrodetritivores selectively graze higher quality plant species and emerging seedlings, thus promoting dominance of the lower quality species. Hence the facultative feeding behavior of macrodetritivores deserves further attention
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.
Long-term divergent tidal flat benthic community recovery following hypoxia-induced mortality
Colen, C. van; Montserrat, F. ; Vincx, M. ; Herman, P.M.J. ; Ysebaert, T. ; Degraer, S. - \ 2010
Marine Pollution Bulletin 60 (2010)2. - ISSN 0025-326X - p. 178 - 186.
cerastoderma-edule - marine ecosystems - wadden sea - polydora-ligni - sediment - dynamics - recolonization - invertebrates - consequences - bioturbation
Macrobenthos recovery after hypoxia-induced mass mortality was assessed in an estuarine tidal mudflat during 3 years. During the first 2 years, a Pearson-Rosenberg type of community recovery took place along with the improving bottom water oxygen conditions. After 3 months, spionid polychaetes became superabundant (i.e. opportunistic peak), followed rapidly by a steep decline (i.e. ecotone point). Subsequently, a moderate increase in species richness and a steep increase in biomass, related to the growth of long-lived species occurred (i.e. transition region). Afterwards, however, the recovering community diverged again from the ambient, undisturbed, sediments due to enhanced recruitment success of long-lived species presumably resulting from the lowered interference from bioturbation during early recovery stages in the disturbed plots. Hence, despite early community recovery may be more or less deterministic, lagged divergent community reassembling may occur at the longer-term, thereby contributing to benthos patchiness in areas which are frequently subjected to disturbances.
Sediment mixed layer as a proxy for benthic ecosystem process and function
Teal, L.R. ; Parker, E.R. ; Solan, M. - \ 2010
Marine Ecology Progress Series 414 (2010). - ISSN 0171-8630 - p. 27 - 40.
deep-sea sediments - marine-sediments - in-situ - habitat quality - nereis-diversicolor - community structure - organic-matter - chesapeake bay - mixing rates - bioturbation
Faunal mediated particle and porewater mixing (bioturbation) alters the structure of the surface sediment layer, forming a distinct mixed layer, where the majority of organic matter degradation takes place. Current methods of assessing benthic habitat quality often reference this mixed layer as an indicator of benthic activity. Whilst a great deal of effort has been devoted to linking macro-invertebrate activity to the mixing depth, less attention has been given to defining what the mixing depth represents in terms of ecosystem process and function. Here, in situ sediment profile images are analysed using grey scale intensity analysis to distinguish the mixed zone and relate it to the physicochemical environment in order to determine the biological, chemical and physical variables most influential in its formation. Significant differences were found between biogeochemical conditions within the mixed layer relative to the underlying historic sediment layer. These were attributed to a combination of environmental variables (Fe, Mn, Si, chlorophyll a and NO3–) rather than a single dominant driver of change. Although these findings are consistent across multiple locations, the driver(s) that influence the depth of the mixed layer are site- and season-specific. The mixing depth thus provides a reasonable approximation of benthic ecosystem functioning, but when considering ecosystem process the link between the mixing depth and its driving factors (faunal mixing, food input, environmental conditions) is highly context-dependent. Conclusions on benthic community dynamics and ecosystem process, including assessments of habitat quality, cannot therefore be drawn from estimates of the mixing depth alone.
The effect of Lumbricus rubellus and Lumbricus terrestris on zinc distribution and availability in artificial soil columns
Zorn, M.I. ; Gestel, C.A.M. van; Eijsackers, H.J.P. - \ 2005
Biology and Fertility of Soils 41 (2005)3. - ISSN 0178-2762 - p. 212 - 215.
earthworms - runoff - bioturbation - infiltration - oligochaeta - erosion - system - casts - water
This study investigated the impact of epigeic and (epi)anecic earthworms on the distribution and availability of zinc in the soil profile. Experiments were carried out with Lumbricus rubellus and Lumbricus terrestris in perspex columns (circle divide 10 cm), filled with 20 to 23 cm non-polluted soil [organic matter 2%, clay 2.9%, pH 6.4 (0.01 M CaCl2)], that was covered by a 3- to 5-cm layer of aged zinc-spiked soil (500 mg Zn/kg dry soil) and another 2 cm non-polluted soil on top. After 80 days, columns were sacrificed and sampled in a depth profile. Earthworm casts, deposited on top of the soil, were collected. Each sample was analyzed for total and 0.01 M CaCl2-exchangeable zinc concentrations. L. rubellus did not go deeper than 3 cm into the soil and therefore no effect on zinc distribution in the soil could be detected. For L. terrestris, total zinc concentrations in the non-polluted layers were slightly but significantly higher in columns with earthworms, and so were the CaCl2-exchangeable zinc concentrations in the polluted layers of these columns. Casts of L. terrestris collected from the soil surface showed higher total zinc concentrations than those from non-polluted soil. Casts were mainly placed on top of the soil. This study showed that these epigeic and (epi)anecic species have only a slight effect on zinc availability, and that deep burrowing species, like L. terrestris, are able to transport polluted soil from deeper layers to the soil surface.
The effect of two endogeic earthworm species on zinc distribution and availability in artificial soil columns
Zorn, M.I. ; Gestel, C.A.M. van; Eijsackers, H.J.P. - \ 2005
Soil Biology and Biochemistry 37 (2005)5. - ISSN 0038-0717 - p. 917 - 925.
bioturbation - sites
The objective of this study was to determine the impact of earthworm bioturbation on the distribution and availability of zinc in the soil profile. Experiments were carried out with Allolobophora chlorotica and Aporrectodea caliginosa in 24 perspex columns (0 10 cm), filled with 20-23 cm non-polluted soil (OM 2%, clay 2.9%, pH 0.01 M CaCl2 6.4), that was covered by a 3-5 cm layer of aged zinc spiked soil (500 mg Zn/kg dry soil) and another 2 cm non-polluted soil on top. After 80 and 175 days, columns were sacrificed and each cm from the top down to a depth of 15 cm was sampled. Earthworm casts, placed on top of the soil, were collected. Each sample was analyzed for total and CaCl2-exchangeable zinc concentrations. Effects of earthworm bioturbation were most pronounced after 1,75 days. For A. chlorotica, total and CaCl2-exchangeable zinc concentrations in the polluted layers were lower with than without earthworms. Total zinc concentrations in the non-polluted layers were higher in columns with earthworms. Casts of A. chlorotica collected on the soil surface showed slightly higher total zinc concentrations than non-polluted soil. Casts were found throughout the whole column. For A. caliginosa there were no differences in total zinc concentration between columns with and without earthworms. CaCl2-exchangeable zinc concentrations in the polluted layers were lower for columns with earthworms. Casts were mainly placed on top of the soil and contained total zinc concentrations intermediate between those in non-polluted and polluted soil layers. This study shows that different endogeic earthworm species have different effects on zinc distribution and availability in soils. A. chlorotica transfers soil throughout the whole column, effectively mixing it, while A. caliginosa decreases metal availability and transfers polluted soil to the soil surface. (c) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
The impact of sediment reworking by opportunistic chironomids on specialised mayflies
Haas, E.M. de; Kraak, M.H.S. ; Koelmans, A.A. ; Admiraal, W. - \ 2005
Freshwater Biology 50 (2005)5. - ISSN 0046-5070 - p. 770 - 780.
plumosus larvae - marine sediment - organic-matter - lake-sediments - oxygen-uptake - growth - water - bioturbation - exchange - meiobenthos
1. Bioturbation, by definition, changes the structure and properties of sediments, thereby altering the environment of the bioturbator and other benthic species. In addition to the indirect effects of sediment reworking (e.g. changes in water quality), bioturbating species may also directly interfere with other species via competition. This study aims, therefore, to examine both the direct and indirect effects of sediment reworking by an opportunistic detritivore on survival and growth of a specialised mayfly species. 2. Bioturbation was imposed by adding different densities of the midge Chironomus riparius to clean and polluted sediments. Changes in water quality and sediment properties, and survival and growth of the mayfly Ephoron virgo were assessed. 3. Chironomid density had a strong negative effect on the concentrations of metals, nutrients and particles in the overlying water, but increased the penetration of oxygen into the sediment. Survival and growth of E. virgo were strongly reduced in the presence of chironomids. In the polluted sediment, the activity of chironomids enhanced the negative effects of pollution on E. virgo. In the clean sediment, inhibition of the mayfly was even more pronounced. 4. This suggests that direct disturbance by C. riparius was more important than indirect changes in water quality, and over-ruled the potential positive effects of improved oxygen penetration. The results indicated that the distribution of small insects, such as E. virgo, can be limited by bioturbating benthic invertebrates.
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