The effect of nutrient additions on bacterial activity in seagrass (Posidonia oceanica) sediments

Nancy I. López*, Carlos M. Duarte, Ferrán Vallespinós, Javier Romero, Teresa Alcoverro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


The influence of nutrient additions on benthic bacterial activity under seagrass meadows was tested by enriching five seagrass (Posidonia oceanica) meadows with nutrients over one year. We found a highly significant response of benthic bacterial activity to nutrient additions, which was reflected in greater (about two-fold) ammonification rates and, to a smaller extent, a significant tendency for a greater exoenzymatic activity. Nutrient additions significantly raised bacterial activity, without altering the seasonal changes in bacterial activity. As a result of the increased bacterial activity, the organic content of the sediments declined significantly, by about 33%, after one year of nutrient addition. Hence, nutrient additions to the seagrass meadows enhance seagrass production but also accelerate bacterial decomposition of seagrass carbon, thereby reducing the capacity of the sediments to store organic carbon. These results demonstrate that sediment nutrient availability limits bacterial activity in these Posidonia oceanica meadows, and identify bacteria as important nutrient consumers in these systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-166
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 30 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Ammonification rate
  • Exoenzymatic activity
  • Nutrient availability
  • Seagrass meadows

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science


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