Marine Biology

, Volume 77, Issue 3, pp 235–246 | Cite as

Benthic response to sedimentation events during autumn to spring at a shallow-water station in the Western Kiel Bight

I. Analysis of processes on a community level
  • G. Graf
  • R. Schulz
  • R. Peinert
  • L.-A. Meyer-Reil


The response of the benthos to the break up of anoxia in the Kiel Bight (Western Baltic Sea), and to three succeeding events of “external” food supply, consisting of a settled autumn plankton bloom, resuspended matter and macrophyte input during winter, and of a sedimented spring phytoplankton bloom, is described on a community level. The first input of oxygen broke up anoxic conditions and made stored food resources available to decomposition. This “internal” food supply, mainly consisting of protein (folin positive matter), was followed by a drastic increase in heat production and ATP-biomass and caused a period of low redox potential, which lasted for several weeks. During this phase, a plankton bloom (dinoflagellates and diatoms) settled to the sea floor. Although there was an immediate response of benthic activity, this food input was not completely consumed by the strongly disturbed benthic community. During winter resuspended matter and the input of macrophyte debris caused another maximum in benthic activity and biomass despite the low temperature. The response to sedimentation of cells from a diatom bloom during mid March was also without any time lag and was consumed within 5–6 wk. A comparison of the amount of particles collected in a sediment trap with the increase of organic matter in the sediment demonstrated that the sediment collected four times (autumn) and seven to eight times (spring) more than measured by the sediment trap. Strong indications of food limitation of benthic activity were found. During autumn and winter these indications were caused more by physical than by biological processes. The three events of “external” food supply caused a temporary shift in the type of metabolism towards fermentation processes and reduced the redox potential. In spring the development of the benthic community was still being strongly influenced by the events of the preceding summer and autumn.


Phytoplankton Macrophyte Dinoflagellate Benthic Community Sediment Trap 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Graf
    • 1
  • R. Schulz
    • 1
  • R. Peinert
    • 1
  • L.-A. Meyer-Reil
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Meereskunde an der Universität KielKiel 1Germany (FRG)

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