The ecological importance of an invertebrate chemoautotrophic symbiosis to phanerogam seagrass beds
Abstract: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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