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Free Content The importance of microalgae, bacteria and particulate organic matter in the somatic growth of Hydrobia totteni

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Laboratory microcosm experiments reveal that benthic microalgae (filamentous blue-green and diatoms) probably constitute the bulk of nutrition in the somatic growth of the deposit feeding mud snail Hydrobia totteni. Despite an apparent excess of nitrogen in the particulate fraction of the sediment, H. totteni grows only about 42% as much in the dark as in the light. Growth in the dark is probably explained by the utilization of filamentous blue greens and, to a lesser extent, bacteria. The additional growth in the light is probably explained by benthic diatoms, as shown in previous studies. Standing-stocks of micro-organisms (bacteria and microalgae) and snail densities (0.5 cm–2, 2.0 cm–2) in laboratory treatments lie within the range of field conditions.

A comparison of snail growth in oxidized and nonoxidized sediments, shows that particulate organic matter typically found in salt marsh sediments does not contribute substantially to somatic growth in H. totteni. Added rations of the seaweed Ulva rotundata also did not affect snail growth. Much of the available nitrogen may have been mineralized into the water column because Ulva is readily decomposed.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 May 1984

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  • The Journal of Marine Research publishes peer-reviewed research articles covering a broad array of topics in physical, biological and chemical oceanography. Articles that deal with processes, as well as those that report significant observations, are welcome. In the area of biology, studies involving coupling between ecological and physical processes are preferred over those that report systematics. Authors benefit from thorough reviews of their manuscripts, where an attempt is made to maximize clarity. The time between submission and publication is kept to a minimum; there is no page charge.
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