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Bioturbation as Driver of Zooplankton Recruitment, Biodiversity and Community Composition in Aquatic Ecosystems

  • Mikael Gyllström
  • Thomas Lakowitz
  • Christer Brönmark
  • Lars-Anders Hansson
Publishing year: 2008
Language: English
Pages: 1120-1132
Publication/Series: Ecosystems
Volume: 11
Issue: 7
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Springer

Abstract english

In an experimental study we assessed if benthic bioturbating invertebrates affect the recruitment (hatching) of zooplankton from the sediment, and if this effect persists as differences in the zooplankton community in the water column, that is, if bioturbation quantitatively stimulates benthic-pelagic coupling. We investigated the effects of four different benthic invertebrates (Asellus aquaticus, Chironomus plumosus, Tubifex tubifex in the presence or absence of the predator Sialis lutaria). In total, 45 zooplankton taxa hatched from the sediment and the hatching success of some of these was dependent on the species identity of the bioturbating invertebrate. The predator Sialis reduced the abundance of all three invertebrate species, but tended to positively influence the zooplankton recruitment rates, possibly through increasing the activity of the bioturbating invertebrates. The most striking effect of bioturbation on the hatching and pelagic zooplankton community properties was that, on average, 11% more species hatched in the Asellus treatment than in any other treatment. This was also mirrored in the zooplankton water column community where, on average, 7% more species established a viable population in treatments with Asellus as bioturbator. In a complementary field survey, Asellus was more common in littoral than in profundal sediments. Because Asellus strongly affected recruitment of zooplankton in our experiment, we argue that bioturbation may partly explain why recruitment of resting stages of both phyto- and zooplankton is generally higher in littoral than in profundal areas.


  • Ecology
  • egg-bank
  • zooplankton
  • recruitment
  • habitat shifts
  • benthic-pelagic coupling
  • life-history
  • bioturbation
  • biodiversity


  • Centre for Animal Movement Research
  • ISSN: 1432-9840
Lars-Anders Hansson
E-mail: lars-anders [dot] hansson [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se


Aquatic ecology

+46 46 222 41 69






Research group

Aquatic Ecology

Other projects I´m involved in

Doctoral students and postdocs

PhD students, main supervisor

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