A Set of Models to Investigate the Role of Benthic Suspension Feeders in Estuarine Ecosystems

  • Peter M. J. Herman
Part of the Nato ASI Series book series (volume 33)


Benthic suspension feeders are an important component of estuarine ecosystems. They often represent a considerable biomass, and their filtration activities can be the key mortality factor for the phytoplankton. It is not unusual that the daily filtration capacity of the suspension feeders is in the order one fifth to one third of the total system water volume, thus imposing on the phytoplankton a mortality rate in the order of 0.20 to 0.33 d-1 (Dame et al 1991; Smaal 1991; Hily 1991). Coupled to this high grazing rate is the importance of the suspension feeders for nutrient recycling and for sedimentation/resuspension of particulate matter. Based on the relatively low mortality rates of benthic suspension feeders, it has been argued that their role in energy transfer pathways is minor, compared with their role in element cycling in the ecosystem (Kautsky and Evans 1987).


Clearance Rate Nominal Model Nutrient Limitation Mytilus Edulis Suspension Feeder 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter M. J. Herman
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Estuarine and Coastal EcologyNetherlands Institute of EcologyYersekeThe Netherlands

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