The diet and influence of the spionid polychaete Marenzelleria on benthic communities in coastal Newfoundland

Green, Samantha (2015) The diet and influence of the spionid polychaete Marenzelleria on benthic communities in coastal Newfoundland. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Spionid polychaetes within the genus Marenzelleria are common inhabitants of organically enriched sediments in the Northern hemisphere. The species M. viridis has unique ventilation behaviors that create dynamic, fluctuating oxygen conditions in sediments, enhancing sulfate reduction. These behaviours may have negative effects on other macrofauna and positive effects on sulfur bacteria. A Marenzelleria species recently sampled in Newfoundland is here identified as M. viridis, and its abundance correlates little with abiotic factors and macrofaunal community composition at examined sites. Various types of surrounding sediments (oxic and suboxic as well as M. viridis burrow linings) contained surprisingly similar total prokaryotic, sulfate reducing and sulfur oxidizing bacteria numbers. The high abundance of sedimentary prokaryotes, combined with the stable isotopic composition of M. viridis tissues and lack of obvious symbionts, suggest that, thanks to its ventilation behaviour, this species may “farm” sulfur bacteria in sediments and use them as a primary food source.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 11953
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 107-129).
Keywords: spionidae, Marenzelleria, Microbial diet, Benthic communities, Newfoundland, fluorescent in situ hybridization, sulfate reducers, sulfur oxidizers, sulfur stable isotope analysis, carbon stable isotope analysis, nitrogen stable isotope analysis, transmission electron microscopy, Marenzelleria epidermis, Marenzelleria gill, chemosynthesis
Department(s): Science, Faculty of > Biology
Date: October 2015
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Spionidae--Behavior--Newfoundland and Labrador; Spionidae--Food--Newfoundland and Labrador; Sulfur bacteria--Newfoundland and Labrador--Growth; Bacteria--Ecology

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