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Foraminiferal species responses to in situ experimentally induced anoxia in the Adriatic Sea

July 25, 2013

Anoxia was successfully induced in four benthic chambers installed at 24 m depth in the northern Adriatic Sea, for periods varying from 9 days to 10 months. During the 10 months period, species richness significantly decreased. Although no significant change in Shannon diversity and Evenness is observed, the composition of the foraminiferal assemblages changes with time. This change is due to interspecific differences in tolerance with respect to anoxia and free sulphides. Leptohalysis scottii, Textularia agglutinans and Quinqueloculina cf. stelligera all showed a significant decrease with time, strongly suggesting they are sensitive to the anoxia and sulphides. Conversely, Eggerella scabra, Bulimina marginata, Lagenammina atlantica, Hopkinsina pacifica and Bolivina pseudoplicata appear to be resistant to the experimental conditions. Quinqueloculina seminula also appears to be sensitive to anoxia but shows a clear standing stock increase during the first month of the experiment, which we interpret as an opportunistic response to increasing organic matter availability due to the degradation of the dead macrofaunal organisms. It appears that none of the anoxia sensitive species is capable to accumulate intracellular nitrates. Such a capacity could be shown for some tested specimens of the dominant anoxia tolerant species E. scabra and B. marginata. However, tests on the denitrification capacity of these taxa yielded negative results, suggesting that their resistance to long-term anoxia is not due to a capacity to denitrify.

Anoxia was successfully induced in four benthic chambers installed at 24 m depth in the northern Adriatic Sea, for periods varying from 9 days to 10 months. During the 10 months period, species richness significantly decreased. Although no significant change in Shannon diversity and Evenness is observed, the composition of the foraminiferal assemblages changes with time. This change is due to interspecific differences in tolerance with respect to anoxia and free sulphides. Leptohalysis scottii, Textularia agglutinans and Quinqueloculina cf. stelligera all showed a significant decrease with time, strongly suggesting they are sensitive to the anoxia and sulphides. Conversely, Eggerella scabra, Bulimina marginata, Lagenammina atlantica, Hopkinsina pacifica and Bolivina pseudoplicata appear to be resistant to the experimental conditions. Quinqueloculina seminula also appears to be sensitive to anoxia but shows a clear standing stock increase during the first month of the experiment, which we interpret as an opportunistic response to increasing organic matter availability due to the degradation of the dead macrofaunal organisms. It appears that none of the anoxia sensitive species is capable to accumulate intracellular nitrates. Such a capacity could be shown for some tested specimens of the dominant anoxia tolerant species E. scabra and B. marginata. However, tests on the denitrification capacity of these taxa yielded negative results, suggesting that their resistance to long-term anoxia is not due to a capacity to denitrify.

Langlet D, Baal C, Geslin E, Metzger E, Zuschin M, Riedel B, Risgaard-Petersen N, Stachowitsch M, Jorissen F J, 2013, Foraminiferal species responses to in situ experimentally induced anoxia in the Adriatic Sea, Biogeosciences Discussions, 10, 12065-12114, doi:10.5194/bgd-10-12065-2013, 2013, doi:10.5194/bgd-10-12065-2013. Article.

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