Author(s): Shin PK, Cheung CK, Cheung SG
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Abstract A microcosm experiment was conducted to test the short-term effects of nitrogen (as TKN, total Kjeldahl nitrogen) and sulphide (as AVS, acid volatile sulphide) on macrobenthic infauna over a period of 8 weeks. The experiment consisted of four treatments using sediment cores (D: 8 cm, H: 20 cm) with addition of: I, nitrogen (N) to an in situ mean level of 0.48 mg Ng(-1) dw; II, sulphidic solution (S) to an in situ mean level of 318.8 microM S g(-1) dw; III, nitrogen and sulphidic solution (NS) to in situ mean levels of 0.45 mg Ng(-1) dw and 329.0 microM S g(-1) dw, respectively, and IV, control with no addition of N and S. Sediment cores were retrieved for analysis of infaunal composition after weeks 2, 4 and 8. A total of 646 specimens of macrobenthic infauna belonging to 27 species were recorded from the cores, in which polychaetes were the most abundant with respect to species and individual numbers. Mean species number and diversity H' of the control and N treatment was statistically higher than S and NS treatments, mean individual number of the S treatment was larger than the NS treatment, and mean evenness J of the S treatment was lower than the N and NS treatments as well as the control. Individual numbers also showed a significant increase from weeks 2 to 8, whereas evenness J decreased in weeks 4 and 8. Multivariate analyses of the faunal data suggested that benthic composition of the N treatment and control did not differ during the experimental period, but changes in benthic structure in S and NS treatments were evident. The present findings demonstrated the dose-response relationship of benthic species changes under controlled addition of N and S. The response to N and S additions in the sediment microcosms was in agreement with the general effects of organic enrichment on macrobenthic communities along a spatial gradient of organic pollution as described by Pearson and Rosenberg [Pearson, T.H., Rosenberg, R., 1978. Macrobenthic succession in relation to organic enrichment and pollution of the marine environment. Oceanography and Marine Biology Annual Review 16, 229-311]. However, in the present experiment, community changes in the treatments were observable in a short, temporal scale.
This article was published in Mar Pollut Bull
and referenced in Journal of Coastal Zone Management