Eutrophication affects coastal oceans worldwide, modifies primary production and sediment biogeochemistry and, overall, is progressively compromising marine ecosystems' integrity. Because of their known bioturbation ability, sea cucumbers are supposed to be candidates for mitigating benthic eutrophication. To provide insights on this, we investigated differences in organic matter quantity and biochemical composition (as proxies of benthic trophic status) of sediments and feces of the sea cucumber Holothuria tubulosa acclimated in mesocosms at temperatures comprised between natural conditions (14-26 & DEG;C) and an extreme of 29 & DEG;C (representing the highest anomaly under heat waves in the Mediterrranean Sea). Organic matter features differed significantly between sediments characterized by different trophic statuses and the holothuroid's feces, though with some exceptions. Feces resulted almost always organically enriched when compared with the ambient sediments, though with variable differences in composition in sediments characterized by different initial trophic status. Our results point out that sea cucumbers maintain their bioreactor capacity at all experimental temperatures including the (anomalous) highest one, irrespectively of the available food, suggesting that they could be profitably utilized to mitigate benthic eutrophication also in a warmer Mediterranean Sea.

Sea cucumbers bioturbation potential outcomes on marine benthic trophic status under different temperature regimes

Ennas, Claudia;Pasquini, Viviana;Abyaba, Hiba;Addis, Pierantonio;Pusceddu, Antonio
2023-01-01

Abstract

Eutrophication affects coastal oceans worldwide, modifies primary production and sediment biogeochemistry and, overall, is progressively compromising marine ecosystems' integrity. Because of their known bioturbation ability, sea cucumbers are supposed to be candidates for mitigating benthic eutrophication. To provide insights on this, we investigated differences in organic matter quantity and biochemical composition (as proxies of benthic trophic status) of sediments and feces of the sea cucumber Holothuria tubulosa acclimated in mesocosms at temperatures comprised between natural conditions (14-26 & DEG;C) and an extreme of 29 & DEG;C (representing the highest anomaly under heat waves in the Mediterrranean Sea). Organic matter features differed significantly between sediments characterized by different trophic statuses and the holothuroid's feces, though with some exceptions. Feces resulted almost always organically enriched when compared with the ambient sediments, though with variable differences in composition in sediments characterized by different initial trophic status. Our results point out that sea cucumbers maintain their bioreactor capacity at all experimental temperatures including the (anomalous) highest one, irrespectively of the available food, suggesting that they could be profitably utilized to mitigate benthic eutrophication also in a warmer Mediterranean Sea.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11584/374227
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