Burrow ventilation of benthic infauna generates water currents that irrigate the interstices of the sediments surrounding the burrow walls. Such activities have associated effects on biogeochemical processes affecting ultimately important ecosystem processes. In this study, the ventilation and irrigation behavior of
Marenzelleria viridis, an invasive polychaete species in Europe, was analyzed using different approaches. M. viridis showed to perform two types of ventilation: (1) muscular pumping of water out of the burrow and (2) cilia pumping of water into the burrow. Flowmeter measurements presented muscular pumping in time
averaged rates of 0.15 ml min−1. Oxygen needle electrodes positioned above the burrow openings revealed that muscular undulation of the worm body pumps anoxic water out of the burrow. On the other hand, microscope observations of the animal showed that ventilation of oxygen-rich water in the burrow occurs by
ciliary action. The volume of water irrigated by M. viridis appears to vary linearly within the first 24 h incubation, with rates ranging from 0.003 to 0.01 ml min−1. From those rates we could estimate that the time averaged rate of cilia ventilation should be about 0.16 ml min−1. Since the cilia pumping into the burrow occurs in periods of 24±12 min and at 50–70% of the measured time, considerable amounts of water from deeper sediments may percolate upwards to the sediment surface. This water is rich in reduced compounds and nutrients and may have important associated ecological implications in the ecosystem (e.g. affecting
redox conditions, organic matter degradation, benthic recruitment and primary production).
|Tidsskrift||Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology|
|Status||Udgivet - 2011|