Influence of a burrowing, metal-tolerant polychaete on benthic metabolism, denitrification and nitrogen regeneration in contaminated estuarine sediments
Banks, JL, Ross, DJ, Keough, MJ, Macleod, CK, Keane, J & Eyre, BD 2013, 'Influence of a burrowing, metal-tolerant polychaete on benthic metabolism, denitrification and nitrogen regeneration in contaminated estuarine sediments', Marine Pollution Bulletin, vol. 68, no. 1-2, pp. 30-37.
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We investigated the effects of the burrowing cirratulid polychaete Cirriformia filigera (Delle Chiaje, 1828) on benthic respiration and nitrogen regeneration in metal-contaminated estuarine sediments using laboratory mesocosms. C. filigera is a dominant component of assemblages in the most severely contaminated sediments within the Derwent estuary, southern Australia. In the presence of C. filigera sediment O2 consumption doubled, with approximately 55% of this increase due to their respiration and the remaining 45% attributable to oxidation reactions and increased microbial respiration associated with burrow walls. Combined NO3 and NO2 fluxes were unaffected. The addition of labile organic matter did not affect benthic fluxes, in the presence or absence of C. filigera, presumably due to the short timeframe of the experiment and naturally enriched test sediments. The results suggest that a combination of tolerance and burrowing activity enables this species to provide an ecosystem service in the removal of N from contaminated sites.