In situ foraminifera food dynamics on an intertidal mudflat after a severe induced hypoxia Western Scheldt, Netherlands.
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In order to predict the anthropogenic effects expected for benthic fauna on intertidal mudflats, a large in situ defaunation/refaunation experiment has been conducted at the NIOO (Yerseke, 2005). Species identities, diversity and 13C labeling data were used to identify the microbial carbon flow to higher trophic levels (macro-fauna) during the habitat recovery. For my Msc Thesis, I’ve used the foraminifera samples that were collected in this study and studied the Foraminifera as an intermediate step between microbial carbon flow up to higher trophic levels. Foraminifera could be a major constituent of the carbon flow in times of recovery due to their prolonged anoxia resistance and the absence of other meio- and macro-fauna. Combining my data of the foraminifera with the extensive knowledge of the habitat recovery. Using species identities, quantities, sizes and the 13C food pulse experiment, the role of foraminifera species is determined during recovery of the carbon cycle. In combination with the biogeochemical properties of the sediment and the microphytoplankton and bacteria dynamics, the ecological interactions of foraminifera after times of stress is unraveled.