Estuaries and Coasts

, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 482–490 | Cite as

Lucinid clam influence on the biogeochemistry of the seagrassThalassia testudinum sediments

  • Laura K. Reynolds
  • Peter Berg
  • Joseph C. Zieman


Lucinid bivalves dominate the infauna of tropical seagrass sediments. While the effect of seagrass on lucinids has been studied, the reverse effect has largely been ignored. Lucinids can alter porewater chemistry (i.e., increase porewater nutrients by suspension feeding and decrease porewater sulfides by oxygen introduction and bacterial oxidation), which can potentially change seagrass productivity and growth morphology. To observe correlations between porewater chemistry and lucinid presence, a field survey and laboratory microcosm experiment were conducted. Survey sampling sites with lucinids had significantly lower sulfide and higher ammonium concentrations than sampling sites without lucinids. There was no difference in phosphate concentration among sampling sites. Both lucinid species used in the microcosm experiment (Ctena orbiculata andLucinesca nassula) significantly lowered sulfide concentrations in the sediment porewater. Microcosm and field survey results were incorporated into a sulfide budget. In seagrass sediments, lucinids remove 2–16% of the total sulfide produced. Sulfide is a major stressor to both plants and animals in Florida Bay sediments; this removal may be important to maintaining seagrass productivity and health. Oxygen introduction into sediments byC. orbiculata was estimated in a dye experiment.C. orbiculata were added to small tubes containing sieved mud and incubated in a bath of seawater with a Rhodamine WT. Rhodamine WT accumulation in the sediment was measured. A first order estimate showed that oxygen introduction can account for less than 5% ofC. orbiculata sulfide removal.


Sulfide Sulfide Concentration Marine Ecology Progress Series Seagrass Meadow Microcosm Experiment 
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Copyright information

© Estuarine Research Federation 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura K. Reynolds
    • 1
  • Peter Berg
    • 1
  • Joseph C. Zieman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Sciences, Clark HallUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesville

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