WP3 : Impact of herbivory and bioturbation

We will unravel the effect of meiobenthic grazing (i.c. nematodes) and bioturbation on diatom BEF relations. Nematodes are notoriously difficult to culture (54), which means that experimental treatments are time-consuming: specimens of target species for the task 3.3 experiments (see below) will probably have to be picked from natural sediments. Because it is not possible to accurately control and manipulate bacterial diversity in the presence of (non-axenic) nematodes, we only focus on nematode herbivory and not bacterivory. Most experiments will be carried out in in-house developed tidal microcosms in which diatom and nematode composition and diversity can be manipulated without contamination (UG-MB, D’Hondt et al., unpubl.).

  • Task 3.1: Quantifying nematode grazing at low and high diatom diversity
  • Task 3.2: Quantifying nematode bioturbation
  • Task 3.3: Effect of herbivory and bioturbation on the microbial BEF relation