Skip to main content

Free Content Recruitment responses of benthic infauna to manipulated sediment geochemical properties in natural flows

Download Article:
(PDF 1,801.4 kb)


Recent studies have shown that local variation in surface sediment geochemistry can have significant effects on recruitment rates of benthic invertebrates. Experiments presented here tested (1) the utility of manipulating surface porewater concentrations using spiked polyacrylamide gels and (2) the recruitment responses of the polychaete Arenicola cristata and the bivalve Mercenaria mercenaria to manipulated ammonium concentrations in realistic flows provided by a straight flume and an annular flume. Data show that successful manipulation of sediment porewater ammonium concentration is feasible in flowing waters, i.e., overlying waters remained relatively free of ammonium while manipulated concentration levels were maintained within the upper sediment layers where new recruits explore. Thus, over short experimental periods, ammonium signals can be independently modified while variables such as grain size, organic content and flow are held constant. Responses of new recruits varied as a function of experimental condition. In straight flume trials, the manipulation of ammonium concentration was successful, and within the range of concentrations tested, retention of Mercenaria was significantly reduced at the highest ammonium level. However, retention of Arenicola was uniformly low among all treatments and no significant ammonium response was detected. In annular flume runs, overall ammonium concentrations were higher than in straight flume runs, but were consistent with the intended manipulation. Mercenaria retention was uniformly low, and no differences in retention, as a function of ammonium concentration, were found. However, for Arenicola, significant differences were observed, with highest retention in lower ammonium environments. These results suggest that ammonium, isolated from other cues, plays a significant role in determining recruitment patterns, with variation in recruit responses related to signal strength.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2005

More about this publication?
  • 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.
  • Editorial Board
  • Information for Authors
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • ingentaconnect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
ingentaconnect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more
Real Time Web Analytics