Benthic Studies in Chesapeake Bay: (1) Analysis and Synthesis of Faunal Data in Relation to Sediment and Water Column Interactions and (2) Scope for Future Needs

Principal Investigator:

Roberta L. Marinelli

Start/End Year:

2003 - 2006


Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science


A synthesis effort is proposed to examine relationships among benthic community composition and biogeochemical function, and identify "keystone" species having disproportionate effects on benthic biogeochemistry and benthic-water column interactions. The objectives are: (1) To examine the quality of faunal data sources, and to sort and arrange the data in terms of ecological relationships and likely biogeochemical interactions; (2) To examine the quality of related biogeochemical data and evaluate the extent of overlap (e.g. spatial and temporal scales) with the benthic faunal data; (3) To identify species associations, including potential "keystone" species, which are related to ecological or environmental characteristics; (4) To identify linkages between ecosystem/biogeochemical components and benthic community structure and function where statistical and scaling analyses are supportive; (5) To identify whether additional data collection, modification of existing procedures, or experimentation is warranted; (6) To disseminate the findings through internet and published sources, to participate in teacher training workshops, and to organize a workshop among stakeholders in the Bay program.

Related Publications:

Waldbusser, GG; Marinelli, RL. 2006. Macrofaunal modification of porewater advection: role of species function, species interaction, and kinetics. Marine Ecology Progress Series311:217 -231. doi:10.3354/meps311217. UM-SG-RS-2006-01.

Marinelli, RL; Waldbusser, GG. 2005. Plant-animal-microbe interactions in coastal sediments: closing the ecological loop. Kristensen, E; Haese, RR; Kostka, JE, eds. Coastal and Estuarine Studies 60: Interactions between Microorganisms in Marine Sediments. American Geophysical Union.Chapter 12:233 -249. UM-SG-RS-2005-30.

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