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Benthic diatom effects on infaunal recruitment: a mesocosm approach using early juveniles of Macoma balthica
dos Reis Garcia, C. (2010). Benthic diatom effects on infaunal recruitment: a mesocosm approach using early juveniles of Macoma balthica. MSc Thesis. Universiteit Gent. Faculteit Wetenschappen. Vakgroep Biologie: Gent. 24 pp.

Thesis info:

Trefwoorden
    Algae > Diatoms
    Aquatic communities > Benthos
    Biological settlement > Larval settlement
    Mesocosms
    Population functions > Recruitment
    Water bodies > Coastal waters > Coastal landforms > Coastal inlets > Estuaries
    Macoma balthica (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]
    Marien; Brak water

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  • dos Reis Garcia, C.

Abstract
    Estuaries provide nursing grounds for fish, feeding grounds for birds and benefit mankind with the provision of important ecosystem services. To protect and fully understand the functioning of estuarine systems it is necessary to undertake every aspect of it, including the interactions of benthic communities. One challenging field of estuarine ecology is to investigate the physical, biological and biophysical interactions in the soft-sediment benthic communities, where recruitment plays a major role, since it interferes with community composition, gene flow and food webs to mention a few. Therefore, it is central to understand the forces driving recruitment. The present study investigated the effect of diatom films on larval settlement of the bivalve Macoma balthica using a mesocosm approach and the effect of diatom films on sediment stability. We observed a clear effect of diatom film biomass on sediment erosion, and our results suggest that M. balthica larvae are able to test the suitability of a diatom film after primary settlement. However, our results did not detect a significant difference in larval settlement related to the biomass of diatom films. This is not in accordance to what is observed in the field, what led us to believe that the experimental manipulation induced a side effect on the behavior of settling larvae. This observation created the opportunity to consider other forces beside biomass affecting the interaction between diatom films and recruitment of M. balthica.

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