, Volume 339, Issue 1-3, pp 161-170

Response of meiobenthic size-structure, biomass and respiration to sediment organic enrichment

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Abstract

Samples for benthic meiofauna were collected in the vicinity of a salmon aquaculture farm in Bliss Harbour, Bay of Fundy, Canada in early August 1990. Simultaneously, samples for water content, organic carbon, organic nitrogen were collected, and redox potential and benthic oxygen consumption were measured. Meiobenthic size-spectra of biomass and respiration (calculated using allometric equations) were examined at three locations along a gradient of sediment organic enrichment radiating from the farm. Neither biomass nor respiration size-spectra were significantly different between locations despite a decrease in taxon diversity with increasing sediment organic enrichment. Small nematodes were the single largest contributor to respiration and usually to biomass at all locations, particularly at the most organically enriched location directly under the salmon farm. Calculated meiofauna respiration accounted for a greater proportion of total benthic community respiration in organically enriched sediments than in less enriched sediments.