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Facilitation of a tropical seagrass by a chemosymbiotic bivalve increases with environmental stress
Chin, D.W.; de Fouw, J; van der Heide, T.; Cahill, B.V.; Katcher, K.; Paul, V.J.; Campbell, J.E.; Peterson, B.J. (2021). Facilitation of a tropical seagrass by a chemosymbiotic bivalve increases with environmental stress. J. Ecol. 109(1): 204-217.

Bijhorende data:
In: Journal of Ecology. British Ecological Society: Oxford. ISSN 0022-0477; e-ISSN 1365-2745, meer
Peer reviewed article  

Beschikbaar in  Auteurs 

    Thalassia testudinum K.D.Koenig, 1805 [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    coastal ecosystems; context dependence; facilitation; lucinid bivalves; positive species interactions; seagrass; sediment sulphide; Thalassia testudinum

Auteurs  Top 
  • Chin, D.W.
  • de Fouw, J, meer
  • van der Heide, T., meer
  • Cahill, B.V.
  • Katcher, K.
  • Paul, V.J.
  • Campbell, J.E.
  • Peterson, B.J.


    1. Facilitation of foundation species is critical to the structure, function and persistence of ecosystems. Understanding the dependence of the strength of this facilitation on environmental conditions is important for informed ecosystem management and for predicting the impacts of global change. In coastal seagrass habitats, chemosymbiotic lucinid bivalves can facilitate seagrasses by decreasing potentially toxic levels of sulphide in sediment porewater. However, variation in the strength of lucinid–seagrass facilitation with environmental context has not been experimentally investigated.

    2. We tested the hypothesis that the presence of the tiger lucine Codakia orbicularis becomes more important to the growth and survival of the seagrass Thalassia testudinum under decreased light availability and increased sulphide stress. In a mesocosm experiment, we reduced average ambient‐light to T. testudinum by 64% and/or increased sediment porewater sulphide concentrations by ~200% and comparedgrowth and tissue chemistry of T. testudinum with and without C. orbicularis.

    3. We found that T. testudinum was better able to maintain growthunder shading and sulphide stress when C. orbicularis was present. C. orbicularis strongly decreased sediment porewater sulphide, an effect that minimized sulphur build‐up in seagrass tissue and was likely achieved through bioirrigation as well as chemoautotrophy. The relative effects of C. orbicularis on T. testudinum growth were strongest in the presence of environmental stressors.

    4. Synthesis. The strength of lucinid–seagrass facilitation increases under environmental conditions that hinder the ability of seagrass to detoxify sulphide. Our results provide evidence of a potential mechanism by which the spatiotemporal association between lucinids and seagrasses is maintained and support the incorporation of interspecific facilitation into conservation and restoration strategies for foundation species in the face of increasing anthropogenic impact and global change.

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