Marine Biology

, Volume 148, Issue 3, pp 541–550 | Cite as

Microbial reaction rates and bacterial communities in sediment surrounding burrows of two nereidid polychaetes (Nereisdiversicolor and N. virens)

  • Sokratis PapaspyrouEmail author
  • Trine Gregersen
  • Erik Kristensen
  • Bjarne Christensen
  • Raymond P. Cox
Research Article


The effects of infaunal mode of life on sediment properties, microbial reaction rates, as well as abundance and composition of bacterial communities were studied in sediment surrounding burrows (mucus lining, oxidised wall, ambient anoxic and surface sediment) of two closely related, but behaviourally different, nereidid polychaete worms: the facultative suspension-feeder Nereis (Hediste) diversicolor and the obligate deposit-feeder Nereis (Neanthes) virens. Burrow sediment of the two species was collected from two adjacent (50 m distance) shallow sandy locations (Kertinge Nor, Denmark). The burrow lining and wall of both polychaete species were enriched in organic matter originating from mucous secretions by the inhabitants and phytoplankton trapped through irrigation. This was more evident for N. diversicolor that shows a significantly higher irrigation rate than N. virens. Both the organic matter mineralisation rates (based on anaerobic incubations) and bacterial abundance were higher along the burrow linings and walls. However, accumulation of porewater TCO2 and dissolved organic carbon in sediments adjacent to burrows increased most rapidly in the presence of N. diversicolor, suggesting higher heterotrophic activity associated with this species. Surprisingly, bacterial abundance was lower around burrows of N. diversicolor than those from N. virens indicating that burrow environments from the first species harbour a more active bacterial community. Molecular fingerprints of the 16S rRNA gene from bacterial communities showed that the composition of the burrow linings and walls resembled the ambient anoxic sediment rather than the oxic sediment surface. On the other hand, the bacterial fingerprints of the sediment surrounding the burrows of the two polychaete species were markedly different suggesting either a site-specific difference in sediment parameters or a significant species-specific impact of the burrow inhabitants.


Bacterial Community Polychaete Meiofauna Bacterial Abundance Polychaete Species 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was supported by a grant to EK (Grant#21020463) from the Danish Science Research Council and a traveling grant to SP from The Eleni Nakou Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sokratis Papaspyrou
    • 1
    Email author
  • Trine Gregersen
    • 2
  • Erik Kristensen
    • 3
  • Bjarne Christensen
    • 3
  • Raymond P. Cox
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Zoology-Marine Biology, Faculty of BiologyUniversity of AthensAthensGreece
  2. 2.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdense MDenmark
  3. 3.Institute of BiologyUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdense MDenmark

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