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Evidence for better microphytobenthos dynamics in mixed sand/mud zones than in pure sand or mud intertidal flats (Seine estuary, Normandy, France)

Abstract : Understanding the dynamics of microphytobenthos biomass and photosynthetic performances in intertidal ecosystems will help advance our understanding of how trophic networks function in order to optimize ecological management and restoration projects. The main objective of this study was to investigate microphytobenthic biomass and photosynthetic performances as a function of the sedimentary and environmental variabilities in the range of intertidal habitats in the downstream Seine estuary (Normandy, France). Our results highlight higher biomass associated with more stratified biofilms and better photosynthetic performances in areas characterized by a sand/mud mixture (40-60% of mud) compared to pure sand or pure mud environments. This type of sediment probably offers an efficient trade-off between the favorable characteristics of the two types of sediments (sand and mud) with respect to light penetration and nutrient accessibility. Moreover, the large quantities of exopolysaccharides produced in sand/mud mixtures emphasizes the functional role played by microphytobenthos in promoting sediment stability against erosion. This allows us to show that despite the strong increase in sand content of the downstream Seine estuary, intertidal flats are still productive since microphytobenthic biomass, photosynthetic performances and exopolysaccharides secretion are highest in sand-mud mixtures. This study also underlines the impact of ecosystem modifications due to human disturbance and climate change on the dynamics of key primary producers in estuaries.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02956123
Contributor : Laurent Jonchère Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Tuesday, June 21, 2022 - 4:04:52 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, June 22, 2022 - 3:03:20 AM

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Jerome Morelle, Pascal Claquin, Francis Orvain. Evidence for better microphytobenthos dynamics in mixed sand/mud zones than in pure sand or mud intertidal flats (Seine estuary, Normandy, France). PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2020, 15 (8), ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0237211⟩. ⟨hal-02956123⟩

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