||Pascal P.Y., Dupuy C, Richard P, Rzeznik-Orignac J, Niquil Nathalie
||Marine Biology (Springer), 2008-06 , Vol. 154 , N. 4 , P. 671-682
||mudflat, environmental factor, grazing, bacteria, Nematode
||The fate of the benthic bacterial biomass is a topic of major importance in understanding how softbottom environments function. Because of their high abundance, production and nutritional value, benthic bacteria may constitute an important food resource for benthic fauna. The trophic role of bacteria for a nematode community on the Brouage mudflat (Marennes-Ole´ron-France), dominated by three species: Chromadora macrolaima (64% of the abundance), Daptonema oxycerca (15%) and Ptycholaimellus jacobi (8%), was determined in grazing experiments using 15N pre-enriched bacteria. On intertidal flats, seasonal, tidal and circadian cycles induce strong variations in environmental conditions. Grazing experiments were performed in order to measure the effects of abiotic (temperature, salinity and luminosity) and biotic (bacterial and algal abundances) factors on assimilation rates of bacteria by nematodes. In order to assess simultaneously bacteria and algal assimilation rates, algal abundances were modified adding 13C pre-enriched Navicula phyllepta. Assimilation rate was significantly lower at 5°C; moreover, general trend shows a prominent temperature effect with an optimum around 30°C. Assimilation at salinity 18 was not significantly different from the assimilation at salinity 31. Assimilation was higher under light conditions than in the dark. Above 109 bacteria ml-1, assimilation of bacteria remained unaffected by bacterial abundance. However, assimilation of algae increased with the algal concentration. Nematode kept feeding under conditions of stress, which are typical of the surficial sediment habitat and they appeared to be principally dependent on the algal resource.