The Effects of Sediment Transport and Deposition on Infauna: Results Obtained in a Specially Designed Flume

  • Arthur R. M. Nowell
  • Peter A. Jumars
  • Robert F. L. Self
  • John B. Southard
Part of the Lecture Notes on Coastal and Estuarine Studies book series (COASTAL, volume 31)


Surprisingly little is known about the effects of steady sediment transport or of natural rates of deposition on the process of deposit feeding. This situation persists despite the theoretical reasons for believing that sediment supply by physical processes in many environments is important or dominant in controlling food supply to individual deposit feeders (Miller et al. 1984), despite newly collected field evidence suggesting that sediment transport rate overwhelms processing rates by deposit feeders in environments of both U.S. coasts (Grant 1983; Miller 1985 and in review), and despite the name “deposit feeders.” The reasons are several. One is the technological difficulty of building laboratory devices that realistically can simulate field transport conditions. Another is the difficulty of observing deposit-feeder responses when sediments move. Three other reasons are more subtle. First, it is easy to avoid thinking about sediment movement because it does not occur when one walks out on a sand- or mudflat, and one often avoids it in diving situations as well. Second, very little is known about the mechanics of particle deposition in water, so one cannot extrapolate readily to its biological effects. Third, in the heyday of natural history observations made for their own sake, most observations were done in still water, so the full repertoire of animal behaviors is unknown from classic natural history. Some of these impediments can be overcome simply by being aware of them, while others require more effort. We will focus on the latter.


Sediment Transport Deposit Feeder Bedload Transport Drive Section Suspension Feeding 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arthur R. M. Nowell
    • 1
  • Peter A. Jumars
    • 1
  • Robert F. L. Self
    • 1
  • John B. Southard
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Oceanography, WB-10University of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Earth and Planetary SciencesMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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