Interregional comparison of benthic ecosystem functioning: Community bioturbation potential in four regions along the NE Atlantic shelf

Type Article
Date 2020-03
Language English
Author(s) Gogina Mayya1, Zettler Michael L.1, Vanaverbeke Jan2, Dannheim Jennifer3, 4, Van Hoey Gert5, Desroy NicolasORCID6, Wrede Alexa3, 4, Reiss Henning7, Degraer Steven2, Van Lancker Vera2, Foveau AurelieORCID6, Braeckman Ulrike8, Fiorentino Dario3, 4, Holstein Jan9, Birchenough Silvana N.R.10
Affiliation(s) 1 : Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research, Seestraße 15, 18119 Rostock, Germany
2 : Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Operational Directorate Natural Environment, Vautierstraat 29, B-1000 Brussels, Belgium
3 : Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, P.O. Box 120161, D-27570 Bremerhaven, Germany
4 : Helmholtz Institute for Functional Marine Biodiversity at the University of Oldenburg (HIFMB), Ammerländer Heerstraße 231, Oldenburg 26129, Germany
5 : Flanders Research Institute of Agriculture, Fishery and Food, Ankerstraat 1, 8400 Oostende, Belgium
6 : Ifremer, Laboratoire Environnement et Ressources Bretagne nord, 38 Rue du Port Blanc, 35800 Dinard, France
7 : Faculty of Biosciences and Aquaculture, Nord University, 8049 Bodø, Norway
8 : Marine Biology Research Group, Ghent University, Krijgslaan 281/S8, 9000 Gent, Belgium
9 : Focke & Co., Siemensstraße 19, 27283 Verden, Germany
10 : CEFAS Lowestoft Laboratory, Pakefield Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk NR33 0HT, United Kingdom
Source Ecological Indicators (1470-160X) (Elsevier BV), 2020-03 , Vol. 110 , P. 105945 (17p.)
DOI 10.1016/j.ecolind.2019.105945
WOS© Times Cited 23
Keyword(s) Macrofauna traits, Bioturbation index, Biogeographic comparison, Species distribution modelling, Biodiversity attributes, Ecosystem management

Bioturbation is one of the key mediators of biogeochemical processes in benthic habitats that can have a high contribution to seafloor functioning and benthic pelagic coupling in coastal waters. Previous studies on bioturbation were limited to point locations and extrapolations in single regions, but have not accounted for regional differences under changing environmental conditions, though there are indications that species contributions will differ across regions or with biotic and abiotic context. To capture those differences and assess global patterns and commonalities, multi-regional analyses are imperative. Here for the first time, bioturbation potential (BPc), a functional indicator of benthic community bioturbation, was estimated based on macrofauna data from four regions (i.e. German Baltic Sea, German North Sea, Belgian part of the North Sea and the Eastern English Channel). For each region and sediment type we identified key species contributing to BPc. Comparison within and across regions demonstrated regional differences, and both overlap and mismatch between species that are functionally important and those that are dominant in biomass. Knowledge on the functionally important species is crucial when management objectives include the protection of certain ecosystem functions. Available environmental layers were used as predictors to model the spatial distribution of BPc for each area and to explore the underlying drivers of differences. Random forest models were trained using as response variables either i) BPc initially calculated per station; or ii) BPp – the species-specific contribution to BPc – for key species (with subsequent summation of their predicted full-coverage distributions to BPc). Maps of BPc distribution predicted by random forest were compared with those generated using natural neighbour interpolation. Overall, derived BPc values increased towards the German parts of the North and Baltic Seas. The relevance of BPc for ecosystem processes and functions, however, vary with biotic and abiotic settings. Results revealed a strong association of BPc with species diversity and region, but less with sediment grain size. A large range of BPc occurred when species richness was low. This suggests that the provisioning of high bioturbation activity is possible also under low diversity, where it is vulnerable due to reduced resilience. The executed multi-regional analysis allowed identifying regional differences in performance of macrofauna, suggesting the need for region-specific conservation and management strategies.

Full Text
File Pages Size Access
17 2 MB Access on demand
4 1 MB Access on demand
190 KB Access on demand
25 KB Access on demand
103 KB Access on demand
6 751 KB Access on demand
334 bytes Access on demand
Author's final draft 47 1 MB Open access
Top of the page

How to cite 

Gogina Mayya, Zettler Michael L., Vanaverbeke Jan, Dannheim Jennifer, Van Hoey Gert, Desroy Nicolas, Wrede Alexa, Reiss Henning, Degraer Steven, Van Lancker Vera, Foveau Aurelie, Braeckman Ulrike, Fiorentino Dario, Holstein Jan, Birchenough Silvana N.R. (2020). Interregional comparison of benthic ecosystem functioning: Community bioturbation potential in four regions along the NE Atlantic shelf. Ecological Indicators, 110, 105945 (17p.). Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :