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Dissolved organic matter uptake in a temperate seagrass ecosystem
Van Engeland, T.; Bouma, T.J.; Morris, E.P.; Brun, F.G.; Peralta, G.; Lara, M.; Hendriks, I.E.; van Rijswijk, P.; Veuger, B.; Soetaert, K.; Middelburg, J.J. (2013). Dissolved organic matter uptake in a temperate seagrass ecosystem. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 478: 87-100.
In: Marine Ecology Progress Series. Inter-Research: Oldendorf/Luhe. ISSN 0171-8630; e-ISSN 1616-1599, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Caulerpa prolifera (Forsskål) J.V.Lamouroux, 1809 [WoRMS]; Cymodocea nodosa (Ucria) Asch. [WoRMS]; Zostera noltei Hornemann, 1832 [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    Dissolved organic matter; Seagrass ecosystems; Uptake; Complexity;Phytoplankton; Epiphytes; Zostera noltii; Cymodocea nodosa; Caulerpaprolifera

Authors  Top 
  • Van Engeland, T., more
  • Bouma, T.J., more
  • Morris, E.P.
  • Brun, F.G., more
  • Peralta, G.
  • Lara, M.
  • Hendriks, I.E., more
  • van Rijswijk, P., more
  • Veuger, B., more
  • Soetaert, K., more
  • Middelburg, J.J., more

    We assessed the utilization of inorganic and organic nitrogen compounds of different complexity by primary producers and bacteria in a seagrass ecosystem. Using double-labeled (C-13 and N-15) substrates, the net transfers from the dissolved nitrogen and carbon pools to phytoplankton, planktonic bacteria, epiphytes, seagrasses (Zostera noltii and Cymodocea nodosa), and a macroalga (Caulerpa prolifera) were quantified in field incubations. Phytoplankton was the largest nitrogen sink, followed by the epiphytic community. In contrast, carbon fixation was dominated by the macrophytes. Although compartment-specific variations existed, NH4+ was generally preferred over NO3- and urea. Specific uptake rates of individual amino acids were inversely related to their C:N ratio and their structural complexity (glycine > L-leucine > L-phenylalanine). In addition, biomarker-specific measurements (polar lipid-derived fatty acids and D-alanine) indicated increasing bacterial contributions to carbon uptake with increasing amino acid structural complexity. All primary producers acquired nitrogen from a complex pool of algae-derived dissolved organic matter (DOM), but algae-derived dissolved organic carbon (DOC) was almost exclusively used by the planktonic compartment. In contrast, a similar complex pool of bacteria-derived DOM was not taken up in significant quantities by any of the primary producers. Our results illustrate that dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) can provide bioavailable nitrogen to primary producers and bacteria in seagrass ecosystems on very short time-scales, and DON and DOC dynamics are largely uncoupled and must be investigated as 2 separate interacting pools.

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