, Volume 304, Issue 1, pp 49–58 | Cite as

Effect of bioturbation on denitrification in a marine sediment from the West Mediterranean littoral

  • Franck Gilbert
  • Patricia Bonin
  • Georges Stora


Thein vitro effect ofNereis diversicolor on denitrification has been studied in PVC tubes filled with a coastal marine sediment defaunated by sieving. The first aim of the experiment was to determine the effect of sediment defaunation on denitrification (denitrifying population and Denitrifying Enzyme Assays). Sieving induced a loss of 70% of the initial DEA. The number of denitrifying bacteria was 10 times lower than inin situ sediment. In the top two centimetres, the DEA rose by 75% of its initial value, after 82 days. Polychaetes were only added after a return to near pre-disturbance levels to ensure that our data on the effects of their addition would not be disturbed by changes in the sediment.

Introduction of Polychaetes increased the denitrifying population and DEA in the first layer (0–2 cm) of the sediment after 15 days. After 45 days, the surface of the polychaete burrows in sediment was 1.3 to 1.5 times higher than after 15 days, resulting in an increase in solute exchange between seawater and the top layer of sediment. An inhibitory effect of oxygen on denitrification was detected in the uppermost layer only.

Key words

bioturbation denitrification defaunation marine sediment Nereis diversicolor 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Franck Gilbert
    • 1
  • Patricia Bonin
    • 2
  • Georges Stora
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre d'Océanologie de MarseilleUniversité d'Aix-Marseille II — URA CNRS no 41, Station Marine d'Endoume, Rue de la batterie des LionsMarseilleFrance
  2. 2.Centre d'Océanologie de MarseilleUniversité d'Aix-Marseille II — URA CNRS no 41Marseille Cedex 9France

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