Valiela Ivan

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  • Article
    Trophic structure of benthic communities in the Cabo Frio upwelling system (southeastern Brazilian shelf) : a temporal study using stable isotope analysis
    (Inter-Research, 2014-10-09) Corbisier, Thais N. ; Petti, Monica A. V. ; Soares, Lucy S. H. ; Muto, Elizabeti Y. ; Bromberg, Sandra ; Valiela, Ivan
    In Brazil, coastal upwelling is observed in 7 areas along the southeastern/southern region and is most pronounced near Cabo Frio, Rio de Janeiro. This region is exposed to moderate seasonal Ekman-driven upwelling that brings cold water with increased nutrient levels nearshore and is more frequent and intense during the austral spring and summer, primarily due to the prevalence of northeasterly winds. Our aim was to verify the influence of this upwelling on the benthic trophic structure of the inner and outer shelf off Cabo Frio through measurements of stable nitrogen (δ15N) and carbon (δ13C) isotopes. We identified 1 main pathway of organic matter (OM) transfer from the base to the top of the food web, as observed from the tendencies of the δ13C and δ15N values. The isotopic signatures of benthic consumers exhibited temporal and spatial variability, with no interaction between them. As the result of a time lag, only consumers (mostly decapod carnivores) appeared to reflect the assimilation of 15N-depleted and 13C-enriched OM produced and deposited during strong upwelling that occurred 4 mo earlier. Therefore, the intensity and period of the upwelling phenomenon were important for detecting upwelling in benthic food webs. Lighter nitrogen and heavier carbon isotopes were found on the inner shelf. Consumers may have exploited OM of different quality on the inner and outer shelf due to differences in sediment, hydrodynamics, mineralisation and assimilation of 13C-enriched microphytobenthos. Nevertheless, 4 trophic levels were estimated in the benthic communities of the continental shelf off the Cabo Frio upwelling system, independent of period or area.
  • Article
    Nitrogen interception and export by experimental salt marsh plots exposed to chronic nutrient addition
    (Inter-Research, 2010-02-11) Brin, Lindsay D. ; Valiela, Ivan ; Goehringer, Dale ; Howes, Brian L.
    Mass balance studies conducted in the 1970s in Great Sippewissett Salt Marsh, New England, showed that fertilized plots intercepted 60 to 80% of the nitrogen (N) applied at several treatment levels every year from April to October, where interception mechanisms include plant uptake, denitrification and burial. These results pointed out that salt marshes are able to intercept land-derived N that could otherwise cause eutrophication in coastal waters. To determine the long-term N interception capacity of salt marshes and to assess the effect of different levels of N input, we measured nitrogenous materials in tidal water entering and leaving Great Sippewissett experimental plots in the 2007 growing season. Our results, from sampling over both full tidal cycles and more intensively sampled ebb tides, indicate high interception of externally added N. Tidal export of dissolved inorganic N (DIN) was small, although it increased with tide height and at high N input rates. NH4+ export was generally 2 to 3 times NO3– export, except at the highest N addition, where DIN export was evenly partitioned between NO3– and NH4+. Exports of dissolved organic N were not enhanced by N addition. Overall, export of added N was very small, <7% for all treatments, which is less than earlier estimates. Apparent enhanced tidal export of N from N-amended plots ceased when N additions ended in the fall. Nitrogen cycling within the vegetated marsh appears to limit N export, such that interception of added N remains high even after over 3 decades of external N inputs.
  • Preprint
    Fecundity and spawning of the Atlantic horseshoe crab, Limulus polyphemus, in Pleasant Bay, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA
    ( 2005-09-12) Leschen, Alison S. ; Grady, Sara P. ; Valiela, Ivan
    This study provided the first comprehensive analysis of Atlantic horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) fecundity. Limulus appear to be determinate spawners, maturing all their eggs for the breeding season before spawning begins. On average, larger females held a larger number of eggs (63,500) than smaller females (14,500). By the end of the breeding season there was an average of 11,600 mature eggs female-1 left undeposited, regardless of female size. Larger females laid a higher percentage of the eggs they contained. Thus they not only contain more eggs, but are more effective at laying them as well. Size of spawning females ranged from about 185-300 mm prosomal width, with by far the highest concentration in the mid-size ranges. Although on an individual basis large females carry and lay the greatest number of eggs, mid-size crabs as a group contributed more to the horseshoe crab population in Pleasant Bay because they were more plentiful (net fecundity was highest for mid-size crabs). These results have implications for the management of this important species, which is harvested for bait, scientific, and biomedical uses. Incorporation of these results into models and other management tools can help predict growth rates, effects of size-selective harvest, reproductive value, and stable stage distribution of populations.
  • Article
    Nitrogen stable isotopes in the shell of Mercenaria mercenaria trace wastewater inputs from watersheds to estuarine ecosystems
    (Inter-Research, 2008-11-25) Carmichael, Ruth H. ; Hattenrath, Theresa K. ; Valiela, Ivan ; Michener, Robert H.
    We tested the usefulness of δ15N values in the organic matrix of whole shells from Mercenaria mercenaria as tracers of anthropogenic nitrogen inputs to coastal ecosystems. Low and high stringency acidification methods were used to define parameters for reliable δ15N determination in shell material for comparison with δ15N values in soft tissues. δ15N values in shell from transplanted and native clams reflected %-wastewater contribution to estuaries, but were 2.3 to 2.5% lighter than δ15N values in soft tissues. Accuracy of δ15N values in shell material depended on recovering a sufficient quantity of organic N from shell (~70 µg) and was not altered by acidification method. Reliable δ15N values were obtained with as little as 80 mg of shell and using 100 µl of acid, but higher stringency methods (treating more shell with more acid for longer duration) typically yielded more N for subsequent stable isotope analysis. Conversely, higher concentrations of acid reduced N recovery. These results suggest that the content of N recovered was of greater concern to obtaining reliable δ15N values from shell material than acidification effects. Differences between δ15N values in shell material and soft tissues likely reflected differences in N assimilation among tissues. In combination with other analyses, this method may be applied to refine modern and historical trophic assessments and discern natural from anthropogenic influences on coastal ecosystems
  • Article
    The relative ineffectiveness of bibliographic search engines
    (American Institute of Biological Sciences, 2005-08) Valiela, Ivan ; Martinetto, Paulina
    The increasing number of scientific publications has made bibliographic search engines essential tools in all disciplines. These software-based devices, however, are far from perfect. Comparisons of software-based bibliographic search engines with complete lists of three authors' publications showed that reference citations were not generally available before 1970, and that the effectiveness of recovery was improving but was quite variable, yielding on average 36 percent of the publications. There was marked year-to-year inconsistency in the recovery of titles. The inconsistency could not be explained by differences in indexing due to journal reputation: there was no evident relationship between search effectiveness and journal impact factor, but the percentage of recovered citations was higher for indexed journals. Search engines are widely used in bibliographic searches performed for evaluating researchers, awarding promotions, or assessing journal performance. Given the ineffectiveness of search engines, their use in making such important personal and institutional decisions needs careful consideration.
  • Article
    Impact of burrowing crabs on C and N sources, control, and transformations in sediments andfood webs of SW Atlantic estuaries
    (Inter-Research, 2005-06-02) Botto, Florencia ; Valiela, Ivan ; Iribarne, Oscar ; Martinetto, Paulina ; Alberti, Juan
    The intertidal burrowing crab Chasmagnathus granulatus is the dominant species in soft bare sediments and vegetated intertidal areas along the SW Atlantic estuaries (southern Brazil, 28°S, to northern Patagonia, 42°S). C. granulatus creates burrows that can reach densities of 60 burrows m–2, and its burrowing activities increase water and organic matter content of sediments. To evaluate the long-term effect of burrows on the origin and transformation of accumulated organic matter within sediments, we compared C and N stable isotope signatures of sediments, plants, and consumers within areas with and without crabs. 15N signatures of sediments and primary producers were enriched by 3 to 7‰ in areas with crabs. The enrichment was present in 4 different Argentine estuarine environments (Mar Chiquita coastal lagoon, 37°46’S, 57°19’W, Bahia Blanca, 38°50’S, 62°07’W, San Blas, 40°33’S, 62°14’W, San Antonio, 40°48’S, 64°52’W). Enrichment owing to crab activity appeared to overwhelm possible different N loads, anthropogenic influence, and other properties. Crab activity thus uncoupled the nitrogen dynamics in sediments from external controls. Enrichment of the heavier isotope of N could be the result of an increase in denitrification rates in areas with burrows. Crabs therefore forced faster transformation of available to unavailable nitrogen, making less inorganic nitrogen available to deeper waters. Food webs in areas with and without crabs were similar in shape, but less mobile benthic organisms (nematodes, fiddler crabs and the polychaete Laeonereis acuta) showed enriched N isotopic signatures. The benthic food web seemed separate from that of suspension feeders or water column consumers. Benthic microalgae were an important source for infauna, and marsh plants were particularly important for burrowing crabs.
  • Article
    Stable isotopic evidence of nitrogen sources and C4 metabolism driving the world’s largest macroalgal green tides in the Yellow Sea
    (Nature Publishing Group, 2018-11-28) Valiela, Ivan ; Liu, Dongyan ; Lloret, Javier ; Chenoweth, Kelsey ; Hanacek, Daniella
    During recent years, rapid seasonal growth of macroalgae covered extensive areas within the Yellow Sea, developing the world’s most spatially extensive “green tide”. The remarkably fast accumulation of macroalgal biomass is the joint result of high nitrogen supplies in Yellow Sea waters, plus ability of the macroalgae to optionally use C4 photosynthetic pathways that facilitate rapid growth. Stable isotopic evidence shows that the high nitrogen supply is derived from anthropogenic sources, conveyed from watersheds via river discharges, and by direct atmospheric deposition. Wastewater and manures supply about half the nitrogen used by the macroalgae, fertiliser and atmospheric deposition each furnish about a quarter of the nitrogen in macroalgae. The massive green tides affecting the Yellow Sea are likely to increase, with significant current and future environmental and human consequences. Addressing these changing trajectories will demand concerted investment in new basic and applied research as the basis for developing management policies.
  • Preprint
    Light dependence of Zostera marina annual growth dynamics in estuaries subject to different degrees of eutrophication
    ( 2005-05-20) Hauxwell, Jennifer ; Cebrian, Just ; Valiela, Ivan
    In temperate, shallow systems with clear waters the temporal dynamic of eelgrass (Zostera marina) growth is closely associated with the seasonality of irradiance at the water's surface. It has been recently suggested that increasing eutrophication, via light attenuation by increased algal growth, may disrupt the close temporal association between eelgrass growth and surface irradiance often found in pristine sites. Here, we test this hypothesis by examining the coupling between eelgrass growth dynamics and surface irradiance over an annual cycle in four shallow estuaries of the Waquoit Bay system (Massachusetts, USA) that have similar physical characteristics, but are subject to different land-derived nitrogen loading rates and the intensity of eutrophication sustained. Contrary to our hypothesis, the results show that, in general, most measures of eelgrass demographics were positively correlated with surface irradiance in all four estuaries. Out of the 45 regression models adjusted between irradiance and demographic variables (density, plastochrone intervals, and above- or below-ground biomass, growth, and production, on both a per shoot and areal basis), only 9 of them were non-significant, and only 6 of those corresponded to the eutrophic estuaries. Most notably, we found a lack of correlation between shoot density and irradiance in the eutrophic estuaries, in contrast to the strong coupling exhibited in estuaries receiving the lowest nitrogen loads. Experimental evidence from previous work has demonstrated severe light limitation and other deleterious impacts imposed by macroalgal canopies on newly recruiting shoots in the eutrophic estuaries, likely contributing to the lack of correlation between shoot density and irradiance at the water's surface. Because the range in eutrophication encompassed by this comparison includes the range of conditions at which eelgrass can survive, the relatively consistent temporal coupling between surface irradiance and most eelgrass demographic variables found here may also be a feature of other shallow temperate systems undergoing increasing eutrophication, and indicates a measure of plant recruitment (density) to be one of the first parameters to become uncoupled from light reaching the water's surface.
  • Preprint
    Transient coastal landscapes : rising sea level threatens salt marshes
    ( 2018-05) Valiela, Ivan ; Lloret, Javier ; Bowyer, Tynan ; Miner, Simon ; Remsen, David P. ; Elmstrom, Elizabeth ; Cogswell, Charlotte ; Thieler, E. Robert
    Salt marshes are important coastal environments that provide key ecological services. As sea level rise has accelerated globally, concerns about the ability of salt marshes to survive submergence are increasing. Previous estimates of likely survival of salt marshes were based on ratios of sea level rise to marsh platform accretion. Here we took advantage of an unusual, long-term (1979-2015), spatially detailed comparison of changes in a representative New England salt marsh to provide an empirical estimate of habitat losses based on actual measurements. We show prominent changes in habitat mosaic within the marsh, consistent and coincident with increased submergence and coastal erosion. Model results suggest that at current rates of sea level rise, marsh platform accretion, habitat loss, and with the limitation of the widespread “coastal squeeze”, the entire ecosystem might disappear by the beginning of the next century, a fate that might be likely for many salt marshes elsewhere.
  • Preprint
    Macrophyte abundance in Waquoit Bay : effects of land-derived nitrogen loads on seasonal and multi-year biomass patterns
    ( 2008-01) Fox, Sophia E. ; Stieve, Erica ; Valiela, Ivan ; Hauxwell, Jennifer ; McClelland, James W.
    Anthropogenic inputs of nutrients to coastal waters have rapidly restructured coastal ecosystems. To examine the response of macrophyte communities to land-derived nitrogen loading, we measured macrophyte biomass monthly for six years in three estuaries subject to different nitrogen loads owing to different land uses on the watersheds. The set of estuaries sampled had nitrogen loads over the broad range of 12 to 601 kg N ha-1 y-1. Macrophyte biomass increased as nitrogen loads increased, but the response of individual taxa varied. Specifically, biomass of Cladophora vagabunda and Gracilaria tikvahiae increased significantly as nitrogen loads increased. The biomass of other macroalgal taxa tended to decrease with increasing load, and the relative proportion of these taxa to total macrophyte biomass also decreased. The seagrass, Zostera marina, disappeared from the higher loaded estuaries, but remained abundant in the estuary with the lowest load. Seasonal changes in macroalgal standing stock were also affected by nitrogen load, with larger fluctuations in biomass across the year and higher minimum biomass of macroalgae in the higher loaded estuaries. There were no significant changes in macrophyte biomass over the six years of this study, but there was a slight trend of increasing macroalgal biomass in the latter years. Macroalgal biomass was not related to irradiance or temperature, but Z. marina biomass was highest during the summer months when light and temperatures peak. Irradiance might, however, be a secondary limiting factor controlling macroalgal biomass in the higher loaded estuaries by restricting the depth of the macroalgal canopy. The relationship between the bloom-forming macroalgal species, C. vagabunda and G. tikvahiae, and nitrogen loads suggested a strong connection between development on watersheds and macroalgal blooms and loss of seagrasses. The influence of watershed land uses largely overwhelmed seasonal and inter-annual differences in standing stock of macrophytes in these temperate estuaries.
  • Article
    Long‐term nutrient addition increases respiration and nitrous oxide emissions in a New England salt marsh
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2018-04-20) Martin, Rose M. ; Wigand, Cathleen ; Elmstrom, Elizabeth ; Lloret, Javier ; Valiela, Ivan
    Salt marshes may act either as greenhouse gas (GHG) sources or sinks depending on hydrological conditions, vegetation communities, and nutrient availability. In recent decades, eutrophication has emerged as a major driver of change in salt marsh ecosystems. An ongoing fertilization experiment at the Great Sippewissett Marsh (Cape Cod, USA) allows for observation of the results of over four decades of nutrient addition. Here, nutrient enrichment stimulated changes to vegetation communities that, over time, have resulted in increased elevation of the marsh platform. In this study, we measured fluxes of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) in dominant vegetation zones along elevation gradients of chronically fertilized (1,572 kg N ha−1 year−1) and unfertilized (12 kg N ha−1 year−1) experimental plots at Great Sippewissett Marsh. Flux measurements were performed using darkened chambers to focus on community respiration and excluded photosynthetic CO2 uptake. We hypothesized that N‐replete conditions in fertilized plots would result in larger N2O emissions relative to control plots and that higher elevations caused by nutrient enrichment would support increased CO2 and N2O and decreased CH4 emissions due to the potential for more oxygen diffusion into sediment. Patterns of GHG emission supported our hypotheses. Fertilized plots were substantially larger sources of N2O and had higher community respiration rates relative to control plots, due to large emissions of these GHGs at higher elevations. While CH4 emissions displayed a negative relationship with elevation, they were generally small across elevation gradients and nutrient enrichment treatments. Our results demonstrate that at decadal scales, vegetation community shifts and associated elevation changes driven by chronic eutrophication affect GHG emission from salt marshes. Results demonstrate the necessity of long‐term fertilization experiments to understand impacts of eutrophication on ecosystem function and have implications for how chronic eutrophication may impact the role that salt marshes play in sequestering C and N.
  • Preprint
    Experimental assessment of the macroalgae Ascophyllum nodosum and Fucus vesiculosus for monitoring N sources at different time-scales using stable isotope composition
    ( 2015-01) Viana, Ines G. ; Bode, Antonio ; Bartholomew, Megan ; Valiela, Ivan
    Stable isotope composition of brown macroalgae has been widely used to monitor N loading during the last decades but some of the required assumptions when using them to detect anthropogenic inputs remain untested. In this study several experiments were run with two key species, A. nodosum and F. vesiculosus, to determine internal nitrogen isotope dynamics. First, the equilibration of the isotopic values of the different parts of the thallus of these species was tested by growing them under different water sources. Then, nitrate uptake capacity and N transport along the frond were tested by 15N enrichment experiments. The results indicate that although the growing tips had the highest uptake rates, older parts of the frond of both species have the capacity to incorporate N at low rates. No evidence of N transport along the thallus, from the tip to the basal segment of the frond or the converse was found. These results show that the growing tips of these macroalgae can be used to monitor N loadings at time scales from weeks (F. vesiculosus) to months (A. nodosum). The use of non-growing parts of the thallus to do retrospective studies cannot be recommended because of their measurable exchange of N with the surrounding water.
  • Article
    Changes in bird abundance in eastern North America : urban sprawl and global footprint?
    (American Institute of Biological Sciences, 2007-04) Valiela, Ivan ; Martinetto, Paulina
    The abundance of birds recorded in the North American Breeding Bird Survey decreased by up to 18 percent between 1966 and 2005. The abundance of US and Canadian resident species decreased by 30 percent, and that of migrants within the United States and Canada decreased by 19 percent. By contrast, Neotropical migrants increased by up to 20 percent. Land-cover changes in northern latitudes therefore seem more consequential for bird populations than those occurring in Neotropical habitats. Lower abundances were most marked for resident breeding birds that used open, edge, and wetland habitats, the environments most affected by human disturbances—particularly urban sprawl—in northern latitudes. The abundance of resident and migrant forest-dwelling birds increased (although trends varied from species to species), with the increases seeming to follow the 20th-century expansion of forest area in northern latitudes, rather than the loss of Neotropical forests. The geographic footprint of changes in bird abundance linked to habitat changes in North America may thus be extending southward, with negative effects on birds that use open habitats and positive effects on forest birds.
  • Article
    Seasonal variability of δ13C and δ15N of fish and squid in the Cabo Frio upwelling system of the southwestern Atlantic
    (Inter-Research, 2014-10-09) Soares, Lucy S. H. ; Muto, Elizabeti Y. ; Lopez, Juliana P. ; Clauzet, Gabriela R. V. ; Valiela, Ivan
    To determine whether shifts occurred in the food web associated with upwelling at the Brazilian western boundary South Atlantic Central Water (SACW), we measured isotopic composition (δ15N and δ13C) of 38 fish and 3 squid species from the Cabo Frio food web. Sampling was performed during the austral summer upwelling period (February 2002) and the austral winter non-upwelling period (July 2001). Mean lipid-corrected δ13 δ13Ccor) values ranged from -20.17 to -15.02‰, and mean δ15N ranged from 10.28 to 16.08‰. An analysis of covariance performed using length as a covariate provided evidence of seasonal effects on the mean fish δ13Ccor and δ15N, with higher values during the non-upwelling period than during the upwelling period. These effects are most likely related to biophysical processes that occurred 1 to 6 mo earlier. The data furnish circumstantial evidence of a link between the dynamics of the SACW and the trophic structure of Cabo Frio. The trophic level of the species of fish and squids ranged between the theoretical trophic levels of 3.6 and 5.1, but there were no discrete steps, rather a continuous gradient in isotopic values. This suggests that these food webs are unstructured and the component species have mixed diets.
  • Preprint
    Barnegat Bay-Little Egg Harbor Estuary : case study of a highly eutrophic coastal bay system
    ( 2006-09-26) Kennish, Michael J. ; Bricker, Suzanne B. ; Dennison, William C. ; Glibert, Patricia M. ; Livingston, Robert J. ; Moore, Kenneth A. ; Noble, Rachel T. ; Paerl, Hans W. ; Ramstack, Joy M. ; Seitzinger, Sybil P. ; Tomasko, David A. ; Valiela, Ivan
    The Barnegat Bay-Little Egg Harbor Estuary is classified here as a highly eutrophic estuary based on application of NOAA’s National Estuarine Eutrophication Assessment model. Because it is shallow, poorly flushed, and bordered by highly developed watershed areas, the estuary is particularly susceptible to the effects of nutrient loading. Most of this load (~50%) is from surface water inflow, but substantial fractions also originate from atmospheric deposition (~39%), and direct groundwater discharges (~11%). No point source inputs of nutrients exist in the Barnegat Bay watershed. Since 1980, all treated wastewater from the Ocean County Utilities Authority's regional wastewater treatment system has been discharged 1.6 km offshore in the Atlantic Ocean. Eutrophy causes problems in this system, including excessive micro- and macroalgal growth, harmful algal blooms (HABs), altered benthic invertebrate communities, impacted harvestable fisheries, and loss of essential habitat (i.e., seagrass and shellfish beds). Similar problems are evident in other shallow lagoonal estuaries of the Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic regions. To effectively address nutrient enrichment problems in the Barnegat Bay-Little Egg Harbor Estuary, it is important to determine the nutrient loading levels that produce observable impacts in the system. It is also vital to continually monitor and assess priority indicators of water quality change and estuarine health. In addition, the application of a new generation of innovative models using web-based tools (e.g., NLOAD) will enable researchers and decision-makers to more successfully manage nutrient loads from the watershed. Finally, the implementation of stormwater retrofit projects should have beneficial effects on the system.
  • Article
    Macrophytes as indicators of land-derived wastewater : application of a δ15N method in aquatic systems
    (American Geophysical Union, 2005-01-25) Cole, Marci L. ; Kroeger, Kevin D. ; McClelland, James W. ; Valiela, Ivan
    We measured δ15N signatures of macrophytes and particulate organic matter (POM) in six estuaries and three freshwater ponds of Massachusetts to assess whether the signatures could be used as indicators of the magnitude of land-derived nitrogen loads, concentration of dissolved inorganic nitrogen in the water column, and percentage of N loads contributed by wastewater disposal. The study focused specifically on sites on Cape Cod and Nantucket Island, in the northeastern United States. There was no evidence of seasonal changes in δ15N values of macrophytes or POM. The δ15N values of macrophytes and POM increased as water column dissolved inorganic nitrogen concentrations increased. We found that δ15N of macrophytes, but not of POM, increased as N load increased. The δ15N values of macrophytes and groundwater NO3 tracked the percent of wastewater contribution linearly. This research confirms that δ15N values of macrophytes and NO3 can be excellent indicators of anthropogenic N in aquatic systems.
  • Preprint
    Long-term biological effects of petroleum residues on fiddler crabs in salt marshes
    ( 2007) Culbertson, Jennifer B. ; Valiela, Ivan ; Peacock, Emily E. ; Reddy, Christopher M. ; Carter, Anna ; VanderKruik, Rachel
    In September 1969,the Florida barge spilled 700,000 L of No. 2 fuel oil into the salt marsh sediments of Wild Harbor (Buzzards Bay, MA). Today the aboveground environment appears unaffected, but a substantial amount of moderately degraded petroleum still remains 8 to 20 cm below the surface. The salt marsh fiddler crabs, Uca pugnax, which burrow into the sediments at depths of 5 to 25 cm, are chronically exposed to the spilled oil. Behavioral studies conducted with U. pugnax from Wild Harbor and a control site, Great Sippewissett marsh, found that crabs exposed to the oil avoided burrowing into oiled layers, suffered delayed escape responses, lowered feeding rates, and lower densities. The oil residues are therefore biologically active and affect U. pugnax populations. Our results add new knowledge about long-term consequences of spilled oil, a dimension that should be included when assessing oil-impacted areas and developing management plans designed to restore, rehabilitate, or replace impacted areas.
  • Article
    Response of microphytobenthic biomass to experimental nutrient enrichment and grazer exclusion at different land-derived nitrogen loads
    (Inter-Research, 2005-06-09) Lever, Mark A. ; Valiela, Ivan
    Effects of eutrophication on the relative importance of nutrients and macroherbivores as controls of microphytobenthic standing crop were examined in estuaries with different nitrogen loading rates: Sage Lot Pond (14 kg ha–1 yr–1), Green Pond (178 kg ha–1 yr–1), and Childs River (601 kg ha–1 yr–1). We selected 5 sites with similar salinity ranges on shallow-water, sandy substrates per estuary. In year-round experiments, we fertilized sediments with nitrogen + phosphorus to examine nutrient limitation. We conducted exclusion experiments to determine the significance of macroherbivores as controls of microphytobenthic biomass and examined possible interactions between nutrients and grazing in cages fertilized with nitrogen + phosphorus. Cages fertilized with nitrogen only were also included to determine if nitrogen availability was limiting. Nitrogen + phosphorus addition increased sediment chlorophyll a (chl a) content (herein used as a proxy for biomass) by a similar magnitude across estuaries. Grazer exclusion also increased chl a, but to a different extent across estuaries: the magnitude of the response increased with increasing nitrogen loading rates. We found no interactions between nutrients and grazing. Strong chl a increases in response to nitrogen only addition indicated N limitation in Sage Lot Pond and Green Pond. In the highly eutrophic Childs River estuary we found virtually no response to nitrogen-only additions, suggesting the possibility of phosphorus limitation in this estuary.
  • Preprint
    Effects of watershed land use on nitrogen concentrations and δ15 Nitrogen in groundwater
    ( 2005-07-18) Cole, Marci L. ; Kroeger, Kevin D. ; McClelland, James W. ; Valiela, Ivan
    Eutrophication is a major agent of change affecting freshwater, estuarine, and marine systems. It is largely driven by transportation of nitrogen from natural and anthropogenic sources. Research is needed to quantify this nitrogen delivery and to link the delivery to specific land-derived sources. In this study we measured nitrogen concentrations and δ15N values in seepage water entering three freshwater ponds and six estuaries on Cape Cod, Massachusetts and assessed how they varied with different types of land use. Nitrate concentrations and δ15N values in groundwater reflected land use in developed and pristine watersheds. In particular, watersheds with larger populations delivered larger nitrate loads with higher δ15N values to receiving waters. The enriched δ15N values confirmed nitrogen loading model results identifying wastewater contributions from septic tanks as the major N source. Furthermore, it was apparent that N coastal sources had a relatively larger impact on the N loads and isotopic signatures than did inland N sources further upstream in the watersheds. This finding suggests that management priorities could focus on coastal sources as a first course of action. This would require management constraints on a much smaller population.
  • Article
    Ecological importance of passive deposition of organic matter into burrows of the SW Atlantic crab Chasmagnathus granulatus
    (Inter-Research, 2006-04-24) Botto, Florencia ; Iribarne, Oscar ; Gutierrez, Jorge ; Bava, Jose ; Gagliardini, Antonio ; Valiela, Ivan
    The burrowing crab Chasmagnathus granulatus is the most abundant bioturbator in estuarine intertidal sediments from southern Brazil to central Argentina. This crab is a deposit feeder that excavates and maintains large semi-permanent open burrows with funnel shaped entrances. In this study we showed that the funnel shaped burrows with low aspect ratio are the most common and, with field experiments, we demonstrated that these burrows are also the most efficient in the capture of organic matter. As shown by C isotopic signatures, the origin of trapped detrital material is Spartina densiflora. Burrows are distributed in the upper part of estuaries and saltmarshes, mostly in areas of low energy, and cover extensive areas between the marsh vegetation and the open estuary. Through sampling of crab densities and use of satellite images, we estimated the number of burrows of different shapes in the Bahia Blanca estuary (38°50’S), one of the largest estuarine intertidals in the SW Atlantic. After combining this information with the trapping efficiency of burrows of different shapes, we estimated that within 100 d, a crab bed could capture the entire annual production from a marsh area of similar size. Therefore, we suggest that these extensive burrow beds may be considered large macrodetritus retention areas, reducing the amount of organic matter exported from marshes but locally increasing the sediment organic matter content.