Bacterivorous nematodes stimulate microbial growth and exopolymer production in marine sediment microcosms

Cedric Hubas, Calaivany Sachidhanandam, Herve Rybarczyk, Helen V. Lubarsky, Annelien Rigaux, Tom Moens, David M. Paterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The cohesive strength of intertidal soft sediments depends on a large range of physicochemical parameters, but the production of exopolymers by the inhabiting organisms is increasingly recognized as a major stabilizing factor. It is likely that the vast majority of these polymers are produced by microorganisms but very few studies have addressed the impact of benthic meiofauna on this microbial production. The major aim of this study was thus to estimate the impact of nematodes (often the main contributor to meiofauna abundance and biomass in temperate intertidal habitats) on the EPS (extracellular polymeric substances) production of marine sediments. Bacterivorous nematodes Diplolaimelloides meyli Timm, 1961 and D. oschei Meyl, 1954, bacteria and diatoms were grown in laboratory experiments both separately and together to estimate their respective influence. Our experiment revealed a positive impact of bacterivorous nematodes on microbial density and EPS production. Surprisingly, the biofilm structure (in terms of microbial abundance/biomass and EPS content) was better explained by the complexity (i.e. the number of trophic levels) of the assemblages rather than by any specific types of organisms involved in the experiment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-94
Number of pages10
JournalMarine Ecology Progress Series
Volume419
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Keywords

  • Free living nematodes
  • Extracellular polymeric substances
  • EPS
  • Bacteria
  • Benthic diatoms
  • Marine sediment
  • Intertidal
  • BACTERIAL-FEEDING NEMATODES
  • MICROPHYTOBENTHOS BIOMASS
  • INTERTIDAL SEDIMENTS
  • ESTUARINE NEMATODES
  • COMMUNITY STRUCTURE
  • EROSION RESISTANCE
  • TROPHIC COMPLEXITY
  • HABITATS
  • CARBOHYDRATE
  • MEIOFAUNA

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