Impacts of longline mussel farming on oxygen and nitrogen dynamics and biological communities of coastal sediments

PB Christensen, Ronnie Glud, T Dalsgaard, P Gillespie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

141 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Benthic communities and benthic mineralization were studied in two shallow coastal regions of New Zealand: Tasman Bay, a possible future site for mussel farm development, and Beatrix Bay, which already hosts several longline mussel farms. In Tasman Bay, microphytobenthic (MPB) production added significantly to the total primary production of the bay. The activity of benthic microalgae had a pronounced effect on oxic conditions, solute exchange and denitrification rates. Benthic mineralization, quantified as the dark oxygen uptake, was in the range of 675 +/- 11 mumol m(-2) h(-1). Denitrification rates were high and fueled entirely by nitrate produced by the nitrifying community within the sediment. Competition for inorganic nitrogen between benthic microalgae and nitrifiers/denitrifiers resulted in diet variation in nitrogen cycling and reduced the inorganic nitrogen efflux and denitrification activity in the light. Calculated in electron equivalents, denitrification accounted for 11-20% of the total carbon mineralization-one of the highest numbers reported for coastal sediments. Reduced sediments, containing low MPB biomass and few subsurface macroinvertebrate species, were observed below a mussel farm in Beatrix Bay, presumably due to the intensified sedimentation of organic matter. Oxygen consumption increased in the organic-rich sediments, and ammonium effluxes were up to 14 times higher than those of unaffected sediments 250 m away from the farm. Denitrification rates below the farm were low as the coupled nitrification-denitrification was inhibited by the presence of sulfide. The dissimilative reduction of nitrate to ammonium (DRNA) was, however, stimulated in the reduced sediment. The enhanced benthic mineralization was associated with sulfidic sediments and a lower nitrogen removal rate due to impeded benthic photosynthesis and denitrification activity. The described local conditions associated with mussel farming should be taken into account when new areas are considered for development. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)567-588
Number of pages22
JournalAquaculture
Volume218
Issue number1-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Keywords

  • PHOTOSYNTHESIS-COUPLED RESPIRATION
  • BENTHIC COMMUNITIES
  • CONTINENTAL-MARGIN SEDIMENTS
  • Marine & Freshwater Biology
  • WATER SEDIMENT
  • Fisheries
  • NEW-ZEALAND
  • SEASONAL-VARIATION
  • MARINE-SEDIMENTS
  • ESTUARINE SEDIMENTS
  • CARBON OXIDATION
  • SULFATE REDUCTION

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