Experimental assessment of particle mixing fingerprints in the deposit-feeding bivalve Abra alba (Wood)
Particle mixing induced by the deposit-feeding bivalve Abra alba was assessed using a new experimental approach allowing for the tracking of individual particle displacements. This approach combines the adaptation of existing image acquisition techniques with new image analysis software that tracks the position of individual particles. This led to measurements of particle mixing fingerprints, namely the frequency distributions of particle waiting times, and of the characteristics (i.e. direction and length) of their jumps. The validity of this new approach was assessed by comparing the so-measured frequency distributions of jump characteristics with the current qualitative knowledge regarding particle mixing in the genus Abra. Frequency distributions were complex due to the coexistence of several types of particle displacements and cannot be fitted with the most commonly used procedures when using the Continuous Time Random Walk (CTRW) model. Our approach allowed for the spatial analysis of particle mixing, which showed: 1) longer waiting times; 2) more frequent vertical jumps; and 3) shorter jump lengths deep in the sediment column than close to the sediment-water interface. This resulted in lower Db X and Db Y (vertical and horizontal particle mixing bioffusion coefficients) deep in the sediment column. Our results underline the needs for: 1) preliminary checks of the adequacy of selected distributions to the species/communities studied; and 2) an assessment of vertical changes in particle mixing fingerprints when using CTRW.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: September 1, 2012
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