Biogeochemistry

, Volume 113, Issue 1–3, pp 105–117

SPI-ing on the seafloor: characterising benthic systems with traditional and in situ observations

  • Silvana N. R. Birchenough
  • Stefan G. Bolam
  • Ruth E. Parker
Article

Abstract

This work aimed to show that the sea bed of two environmentally-different regions of the North Sea varies both spatially and temporally with respect to their biological communities and bioturbation characteristics. The two contrasting sites studied were north of the Dogger Bank (ND) (85 m) and the Oyster Grounds (OG) (45 m). The physical environment varied between and within sites, mainly influenced by sediment chlorophyll a content and water temperature. Our data revealed that the depth of the apparent Redox Potential Discontinuity (aRPD) layer at OG varied between 2.2 cm in February and 6.5 cm in October; evidence of bioturbation activity (e.g., feeding voids) was observed within the sediment profile. In contrast, at the ND site the aRPD values ranged from 1.7 cm in February to 2.5 cm in May and feeding voids and infaunal burrows were restricted to sediment depths far shallower than those observed at OG. Communities at ND were dominated by a number of surficial-sediment dwelling polychaete species (e.g., Notomastus latericeus, capitellids) while those of OG were dominated by the brittlestar Amphiurafiliformis, together with significant numbers of deeper-dwelling taxa such as the ghost shrimp Callianassa subterranea and the bivalve mollusc Corbula gibba. Our data imply that regions of the North Sea which experience dissimilar environmental conditions not only possess different infaunal communities but also contrasting seasonal fluctuations and bioturbation capacities. The ecological implications of these findings, including inferences for carbon and nutrient cycling, are discussed in relation to the wider North Sea ecosystem.

Keywords

Macrobenthos Bioturbation Variability Infauna SPI MSFD 

References

  1. Baars MA, Bergman MJN, Lavaleye MSS (1999) The Frisian Front revisited: new observations of the benthic and pelagic communities in the transition between the southern bight and the Oyster Grounds. NIOZ report, Texel, The NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  2. Birchenough SNR, Frid CLJ (2009) Macrobenthic succession following the cessation of sewage sludge disposal. J Sea Res 62:258–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Birchenough SNR, Boyd SE, Coggan RA, Limpenny DS, Meadows WJ, Rees HL (2006) Lights, camera and acoustics: assessing macrobenthic communities at a dredged material disposal site off the North East coast of the UK. J Mar Sys 62:204–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Birchenough SNR, Bremner J, Henderson P, Hinz H, Jenkins S, Mieszkowska N (2010) Shallow and shelf subtidal habitats and ecology. MCCIP Annual Report Card 2009–2010 (http://www.mccip.org.uk/media/6888/mccip201011_shelfsubtidalhabitats.pdf)
  5. Birchenough SNR, Parker ER, McManus E, Barry J (2012) Combining bioturbation and redox metrics: potential tools for assessing seabed function. Ecol Indic 12:8–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bo Pedersen F (1994) The oceanographic and biological tidal cycle succession in shallow sea fronts in the North Sea and the English Channel. Estuar Coast Shelf S 38:249–269Google Scholar
  7. Bolam SG, Barrio-Frojan CRS, Eggleton JD (2010) Macrofaunal production along the UK continental shelf. J Sea Res 64:166–179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Borja Á, Elliott M, Carstensen J, Heiskanen A-S, van de Bund W (2010) Marine management—towards an integrated implementation of the European Marine Strategy Framework and the Water Framework Directive. Mar Pollut Bull 60:2175–2186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Buchanan JB (1964) A comparative study of some features of the biology of Amphiura filiformis and Amphiura chiajei (Ophiuroidea) considered in relation to their distribution. J Mar Biol Ass UK 44:565–576CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Capuzzo E, Painting SJ, Forster RM, Greenwood N, Stephens DT, Mikkelsen OA (2012) Variability in the sub-surface light climate at ecohydrodynamically distinct sites in the North Sea. Biogeochemistry. doi:10.1007/s10533-012-9772-6 Google Scholar
  11. Clarke KR, Warwick RM (2001) Change in marine communities: an approach to statistical analysis and interpretation, 2nd edn. PRIMER-E, PlymouthGoogle Scholar
  12. Cutter GR Jr, Diaz RJ (2000) Biological alteration of physically structured flood deposits on the Eel margin, northern California. Cont Shelf Res 20:235–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dippner JW, Kröncke I (2003) Forecast of climate-induced change in macrozoobenthos in the southern North Sea in spring. Climate Res 25:179–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Forster S, Graf G (1992) Continuously measured changes in redox potential influenced by oxygen penetrating from burrows of Callianassa subterranea. Hydrobiologia 235–236:527–532CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Germano JD, Rhoads DC, Valente RM, Carey DA, Solan M (2011) The use of sediment profile imaging (SPI) for environmental impact assessment and monitoring studies: lessons learned from the past four decades. Oceanogr Mar Biol 49:235–298Google Scholar
  16. Godbold JA, Solan M (2009) Relative importance of biodiversity and the abiotic environment in mediating an ecosystem process. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 396:281–290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Greenwood N, Parker ER, Fernand L, Sivyer D, Weston K, Painting S, Kroeger S, Foster RM, Lees H, Mills D, Leanne RWPM (2010) Detection of low bottom water oxygen concentrations in the North Sea: implications for monitoring and assessment of ecosystems health. Biogeosciences 7:1357–1373CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hall SJ (1994) Physical disturbance and marine benthic communities: life in unconsolidated sediments. Oceanogr Mar Biol 32:179–239Google Scholar
  19. Jones SE, Jago CF, Bale AJ, Chapman D, Howland RJM, Jackson J (1998) Aggregation and resuspension of suspended particulate matter at a seasonally stratified site in the southern North Sea: physical and biological controls. Cont Shelf Res 18:1283–1309Google Scholar
  20. Kostylev VE, Todd BJ, Fader GBJ, Courtney R, Cameron GDM, Pickrill RA (2001) Benthic habitat mapping on Scotian Shelf based on multibeam bathymetry, surficial geology and sea floor photographs. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 219:121–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kostylev VE, Todd BJ, Longva O, Valentine PC (2005) Characterization of benthic habitat on Northeastern Georges Bank, Canada. Am Fish Soc Symp 41:141–152Google Scholar
  22. Kröncke I (2011) Changes in the Dogger Bank macrofauna communites in the 20th century caused by fishing and climate. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 94:234–245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kröncke I, Dippner JW, Heyen H, Zeiss B (1998) Long-term changes in macrofaunal communities off Norderney (East Frisia, Germany) in relation to climate variability. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 167:25–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kröncke I, Zeiss B, Rensing C (2001) Long-term variability in macrofauna species composition off the island of Norderney (East Frisia, Germany) in relation to changes in climatic and environmental condition. Senckenb Marit 31:65–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Künitzer A, Basford DJ, Craeymeersch JA, Dewarumez JM, Dörjes J, Duineveld GCA, Eleftheriou A, Heip CHR, Herman PMJ, Kingston P, Niermann U, Rachor E, Rumohr H, de Wilde P (1992) The benthic infauna of the North Sea: species distribution and assemblages. ICES J Mar Sci 49:127–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kürten B, Frutos I, Struck U, Painting SJ, Polunin NVC, Middelburg JJ (2012) Trophodynamics and functional feeding groups of North Sea fauna: a combined stable isotope and fatty acid approach. Biogeochem Special Issue. doi:10.1007/s10533-012-9701-8 Google Scholar
  27. Neubacher EC (2009) Oxygen and nitrogen cycling in sediments of the southern North Sea. PhD thesis, Queen Mary, University of LondonGoogle Scholar
  28. Nilsson HC, Rosenberg R (1997) Benthic habitat quality assessment of an oxygen stressed fjord by surface and sediment profile images. J Mar Sys 11:249–264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Nilsson HC, Rosenberg R (2000) Succession in marine benthic habitats and fauna in response to oxygen deficiency:analysed by sediment profile-imaging and by grab samples. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 197:139–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. O’Reilly R, Kennedy R, Patterson A, Keegan BF (2006) Ground truthing sediment profile imagery with traditional benthic survey data along an established disturbance gradient. J Mar Syst 62:189–203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Painting SJ, Van der Molen J, Parker ER, Coughlan C, Birchenough S, Bolam S, Aldridge JN, Forster RM, Greenwood N (2012) Development of indicators of ecosystem functioning in a temperate shelf sea: a combined fieldwork and modelling approach. Biogeochem Special Issue. doi:10.1007/s10533-012-9774-4 Google Scholar
  32. Petersen CGJ (1914) Valuation of the sea. 2. The animal communities of the sea bottom and their importance for marine zoogeography. Report of the Danish Biological Station, 21Google Scholar
  33. Petersen CGJ (1918) The sea bottom and its production of fish food. Report of the Danish Biological Station, 25Google Scholar
  34. Rees HL, Eggleton JD, Rachor E, Vanden Berghe E (2007) Structure and dynamics of the North Sea benthos. ICES Cooperative Research Report, 288, III edn. ICES, Copenhagen, p 258. ISBN 87-7482-058-3Google Scholar
  35. Reiss H, Kröncke I (2005) Seasonal variability of infaunal community structures in the three areas of the North Sea under different environmental conditions. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 65:253–274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Reiss H, Meybohm K, Kröncke I (2006) Cold winter effects on benthic macrofauna communities in near- and offshore regions of the North Sea. Helgoland Mar Res 60:224–238CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Reiss H, Degraer S, Duineveld GCA, Kröncke I, Aldridge J, Craeymeersch J, Eggleton JD, Hillewaert H, Lavaleye MSS, Moll A, Pohlmann T, Rachor E, Robertson M, vanden Berghe E, van Hoey G, Rees HL (2010) Spatial patterns of infauna, epifauna, and demersal fish communities in the North Sea. ICES J Mar Sci 67:278–293CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Rhoads DC, Germano JD (1982) Characterisation of organism-sediment relations using sediment profile imaging:an efficient method of remote ecological monitoring of the seafloor. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 8:115–128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Rhoads DC, Germano JD (1986) Interpreting long-term changes in benthic community structure: a new protocol. Hydrobiol 142:291–308CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Richardson K, Visser AW, Pedersen FB (2000) Subsurface phytoplankton blooms fuel pelagic production in the North Sea. J Plankton Res 22(9):1663–1671Google Scholar
  41. Rosenberg R (1995) Benthic marine fauna structured by hydrodynamic processes and food availability. J Sea Res 34:303–317CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Rosenberg R, Grémare A, Amouroux J, Nilsson HC (2003) Benthic habitats in the northwest Mediterranean characterised by sedimentary organics, benthic macrofauna and sediment profile images. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 547:297–311CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Rosenberg R, Blomqvist M, Nilsson HC, Cederwall H, Dimming A (2004) Marine quality assessment by use of benthic species-abundance distributions: a proposed new protocol within the European Union Water Framework Directive. Mar Pollut Bull 49(9–10):728–739CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Sapp M, Parker ER, Teal LR, Schratzberger M (2010) Advancing the understanding of biogeography—diversity relationships of benthic microorganisms in the North Sea. Microbiol Ecol 74:410–429CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Schückel U, Ehrich S, Kröncke I (2010) Temporal variability of three different macrofauna communities in the northern North Sea. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 89:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Shumchenia EJ, King JW (2010) Evaluation of sediment profile imagery tool for analysing water quality in Greenwich Bay, Rhode Island, USA. Ecol Indic 10:818–825CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Solan M, Kennedy R (2002) Observation and quantification of in situ animal-sediment relationships using time lapse sediment profile imagery (SPI). Mar Ecol Prog Ser 228:19–179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Solan M, Cardinale BJ, Downing AL, Engelhardt KAM, Ruesink JL, Srivastava DS (2004) Extinction and ecosystem function in the marine benthos. Science 306:1177–1180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Stamhuis EJ, Schreurs CE, Videler JJ (1997) Burrow architecture and bioturbative activity of the thalassinid shrimp Callianassa subterranea from the central North Sea. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 151:155–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Teal LR, Parker ER, Solan M (2010) Sediment mixed layer as a proxy for benthic ecosystem process and function. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 298:79–94Google Scholar
  51. Thomas H, Bozec Y, de Baar HJW, Elkalay K, Frankignoulle M, Schiettecatte L-S, Kattner G, Borges AV (2005) The carbon budget of the North Sea. Biogeosciences 2:87–96Google Scholar
  52. Valente RM (2006) Response of benthic infauna and epifauna to ocean disposal of red clay dredged material in the New York Bight: a study using sediment-profile imaging, surface imaging and traditional methods. J Mar Syst 62:173–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. van der Molen J, Aldridge JN, Coughlan C, Parker ER, Stephens D, Ruardij P (2012) Modelling marine ecosystem response to climate change and trawling in the North Sea. Biogeochemistry. doi:10.1007/51033-012-9763-7 Google Scholar
  54. van Hoey G, Borja A, Birchenough SNR, Degraer S, Fleischer D, Magni PIM, Reiss H, Rumohr H, Schröder A, Zettler M (2010) The use of benthic indicators in Europe: from the Water Framework Directive to the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. Mar Pollut Bull 60(12):2187–2196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Weston K, Fernand L, Mills DK, Delahunty R, Brown J (2005) Primary production in the deep chlorophyll maximum of the central North Sea. J Plankton Res 27(9):909–922Google Scholar
  56. Weston K, Fernand L, Nicholls J, Marca-Bell A, Mills D, Sivyer D, Trimmer M (2008) Sedimentary and water column processes in the Oyster Grounds: a potentially hypoxic region of the North Sea. J Mar Environ Res 65:235–249Google Scholar

Copyright information

© UK Crown 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Silvana N. R. Birchenough
    • 1
  • Stefan G. Bolam
    • 1
  • Ruth E. Parker
    • 1
  1. 1.The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture ScienceLowestoftUK

Personalised recommendations