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Periphyton responds differentially to nutrients recycled in dissolved or faecal pellet form by the snail grazer Theodoxus fluviatilis
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Limnology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Limnology.
2007 (English)In: Freshwater Biology, ISSN 0046-5070, E-ISSN 1365-2427, Vol. 52, no 10, 1997-2008 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

1. We aimed to separate the effects of grazers on periphyton via grazing from that of nutrient recycling from their faecal pellets.2. We set up three different experimental treatments (snails/no snails/faecal pellets) and sampled over 16 days. The `snail' treatment contained a low density (snail biomass c. 14 g−2) of the gastropod grazer Theodoxus fluviatilis and the `faecal pellet' treatment received the same amount of faecal pellets as were produced in the `snail' treatment. Whereas the `faecal pellet' treatment provided extra nutrients to periphyton from the faeces, the `snail' treatment provided nutrients in the form of both faeces and in excreta. There was also direct grazing on periphyton in the `snail' treatment. The `no snail' was not grazed and received no nutrients in faeces or excreta. 3. We measured periphyton C, N and P content, chlorophyll-a (chl-a), primary production, bacterial biomass, bacterial production and bacterial respiratory activity. In the water column we measured dissolved inorganic N and soluble reactive P. 4. Snails increased the amount of dissolved inorganic N in the water. On day 16, the periphyton N : P ratio in the `faecal pellet' treatment was lower, and periphyton P content was higher, than in the other two treatments. N : P ratios decreased over time in the `faecal pellet' treatment. Primary and bacterial production were positively correlated in all treatments.5. Algal chl-a and primary production of periphyton per unit area and periphyton chl-a : C ratios increased over the 16 day in the `snail' treatment, and thus excretion of dissolved N by snails had a stronger positive effect on the periphyton community than N and P in faecal pellets. 6. Our data show that excretion and egestion can have different effects on periphyton, probably because of the higher proportion of dissolved N in excreta and the higher proportion of P recycled in faecal pellets. The relative effect of nutrients recycled in egesta or in excretions, probably depends on the form of nutrient limitation of the periphyton. Further, the different components of the periphyton matrix could react differently to the different forms of nutrient recycling.7. We conclude that direct grazing effects are less important than nutrient effects when nutrients are limiting and grazing pressure is low. Further, the spatial separation of different grazing effects can lead to differences in periphyton production and nutrient stoichiometry. This might be an explanation for the patchiness of periphyton in nature.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 52, no 10, 1997-2008 p.
Keyword [en]
benthic bacteria, egestion, excretion, periphyton, stoichiometry
National Category
Biological Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-16660DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2427.2007.01825.xISI: 000249276200011OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-16660DiVA: diva2:44431
Available from: 2008-06-02 Created: 2008-06-02 Last updated: 2011-01-26Bibliographically approved

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