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Free Content The ecological importance of an invertebrate chemoautotrophic symbiosis to phanerogam seagrass beds

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The symbiotic chemoautotrophic bivalve Loripes lacteus was found to inhabit Cymodocea nodosa seagrass beds in a lagoon in Upper Corsica. Clams were observed at a mean density of 775 ind m−2. Mean clam wet weight for the site was 0.099 mg and the gill, organ in which are found the sulfur-oxidizing endosymbiotic bacteria, accounted for 32.5% of total body weight. Total wet tissue weight due to these animals in this sediment was therefore in the order of 77 g m−2. The percentage of carbon is 11.2% of wet weight. A rough estimate of net clam production within the seagrass bed yields a value of 1.73 g C m−2 yr−1. The autotrophic potential of Loripes lacteus was calculated to be in the order of 47.2 g C m−2 yr−1, which represents roughly 16% of the seagrass bed's primary production. The role of these symbioses, in terms of carbon flux, within phanerogam seagrass beds is discussed.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2002

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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