Estuaries and Coasts

, Volume 41, Issue 6, pp 1766–1781 | Cite as

Functional Performance of Three Invasive Marenzelleria Species Under Contrasting Ecological Conditions Within the Baltic Sea

  • Cintia O. Quintana
  • Caroline Raymond
  • Francisco J. A. Nascimento
  • Stefano Bonaglia
  • Stefan Forster
  • Jonas S. Gunnarsson
  • Erik Kristensen


A 4-week laboratory experiment investigated the behaviour (survival and bioirrigation) and impact of the invasive polychaetes Marenzelleria viridis, M. neglecta and M. arctia on sediment-water solutes exchange, porewater chemistry, and Fe and P interactions in high-salinity sandy sediment (HSS) and low-salinity muddy sediment (LSM) from the Baltic Sea. M. viridis showed deep burrowing with efficient bioirrigation (11 L m−2 day−1) and high survival (71%) in HSS, while M. arctia exhibited shallow burrowing with high bioirrigation (12 L m−2 day−1) and survival (88%) in LSM. M. neglecta behaved poorly in both ecological settings (bioirrigation, 5–6 L m−2 day−1; survival, 21–44%). The deep M. viridis bioirrigation enhanced total microbial CO2 (TCO2) production in HSS by 175% with a net efflux of NH4+ and PO43−, at rates 3- to 27-fold higher than for the other species. Although the shallow and intense bioirrigation of M. arctia in LSM stimulated microbial TCO2 production to some extent (61% enhancement), the nutrient fluxes close to zero indicate that it effectively prevented the P release. Porewater Fe:PO43− ratios revealed that the oxidizing effect of M. arctia bioirrigation increased the PO43− adsorption capacity of LSM twofold relative to defaunated controls while no buffering of PO43− was detected in M. viridis HSS treatment. Therefore, the different behaviour of the three species in various environments and the sharp contrast between M. viridis and M. arctia effects on C, N and P cycling must be considered carefully when the ecological role of Marenzelleria species in the Baltic Sea is evaluated.


Bioirrigation Invasive species Sediment biogeochemistry Nutrient cycling Eutrophication P retention 



We are thankful to Alf Norkko and Joanna Norkko for organizing a workshop on the state-of-art Marenzelleria research in 2011 at Tvärminne Station, Finland, which provided collaborations and valuable discussions with other scientists. We thank Ralf Bastrop for sampling M. neglecta worms in Germany and transporting them safely to Denmark.


The work was funded by the Sao Paulo Research Support Foundation (FAPESP, no. 2012/06121-1) to COQ, by the Danish Council for Independent Research (contract no. 12-127012) to EK and by the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (grant no. 202100-3062) to JG and CR. FN was funded by Formas Mobility Grant (no. 2013-1322).


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Copyright information

© Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cintia O. Quintana
    • 1
  • Caroline Raymond
    • 2
  • Francisco J. A. Nascimento
    • 2
  • Stefano Bonaglia
    • 2
  • Stefan Forster
    • 3
  • Jonas S. Gunnarsson
    • 2
  • Erik Kristensen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdense MDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant SciencesStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Institute of Biological Sciences, Marine BiologyUniversity of RostockRostockGermany

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