Spatio-temporal variability of intertidal benthic primary production and respiration in the western part of the Mont Saint-Michel Bay (Western English Channel, France)

Abstract

In situ measurements of both community metabolism (primary production and respiration) and PAM fluorometry were conducted during emersion on intertidal sediments in the Mont Saint-Michel Bay, in areas where oysters and mussels were cultivated. Results highlighted a low benthic metabolism compared to other intertidal areas previously investigated with the same methods. Comparisons between gross community primary production and relative electron transport rates confirmed this statement. More specifically, primary productivity remained very low all over the year, whereas the associated microalgal biomass was estimated to be high. We suggest that the microphytobenthic community studied was characterized by a self-limitation of its primary productivity by its own biomass, as previously shown in Marennes-Oléron Bay for example. The almost permanent high biomass would represent a limiting factor for micromigration processes within the first millimetres of the sediment. This could be explained by very low resuspension processes occurring in the western part of the bay, enhanced by the occurrence of numerous aquaculture structures that could decrease tidal currents in the benthic boundary layer.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the French National Programme on Coastal Ecology (PNEC), chantier Baie du Mont Saint Michel. We thank “la Maison de la Baie” (not “de l’abbé”) for warm hospitality, and Hervé Rybarczyk and Renaud Michel for field assistance.

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Correspondence to D. Davoult.

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Handling editor: N. Desroy

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Davoult, D., Migné, A., Créach, A. et al. Spatio-temporal variability of intertidal benthic primary production and respiration in the western part of the Mont Saint-Michel Bay (Western English Channel, France). Hydrobiologia 620, 163–172 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-008-9626-3

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Keywords

  • In situ measurements
  • Microphytobenthos
  • Intertidal community metabolism
  • Benthic primary production
  • Community respiration
  • PAM fluorometry