Chemosymbiotic bivalves contribute to the nitrogen budget of seagrass ecosystems [article]

Ulisse Cardini, Marco Bartoli, Raymond Lee, Sebastian Luecker, Maria Mooshammer, Julia Polzin, Miriam Weber, Jillian Petersen
2019 bioRxiv   pre-print
In many seagrass sediments, lucinid bivalves and their sulfur-oxidizing symbionts are thought to underpin key ecosystem functions, but little is known about their role in nutrient cycles, particularly nitrogen. We used natural stable isotopes, elemental analyses, and stable isotope probing to study the ecological stoichiometry of a lucinid symbiosis in spring and fall. Chemoautotrophy appeared to dominate in fall, when chemoautotrophic carbon fixation rates were up to one order of magnitude
more » ... er as compared to the spring, suggesting a flexible nutritional mutualism. In fall, an isotope pool dilution experiment revealed carbon limitation of the symbiosis and ammonium excretion rates up to 10-fold higher compared to fluxes reported for non-symbiotic marine bivalves. These results provide evidence that lucinid bivalves can contribute substantial amounts of ammonium to the ecosystem. Given the preference of seagrasses for this nitrogen source, lucinid bivalves contribution may boost productivity of these important blue carbon ecosystems.
doi:10.1101/537746 fatcat:rcslvreuyndxfh4hsvi4l7pesa