Effects of the zebra mussel, an exotic freshwater species, on seston stoichiometry

Naddafi, Rahmat, Kurt Pettersson, Peter Eklöv

Limnol. Oceanogr., 53(5), 2008, 1973-1987 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2008.53.5.1973

ABSTRACT: We examined the effect of the zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha, an exotic species, on seston stoichiometry by conducting laboratory experiments in which we varied nutrient composition of seston and mussels over time. Zebra mussels altered the stoichiometry of seston through removal of particulate organic nutrients and changed the stoichiometry of the dissolved nutrient pool through nutrient excretion. Grazers had stronger effects on carbon : phosphorus (C : P) and nitrogen (N) : P ratios than on the C:N ratio of seston. Elemental residence time in tissue and high mass-specific nutrient excretion by small mussels caused small mussels to be more efficient nutrient recyclers than larger mussels. Zebra mussels reduced P availability through enhancing C: P and N: P molar ratios of seston during the period extending from June to August, when P was limited in the lake, and increased the C:N molar ratio of seston in June, when N was at the minimum level in the lake. C: P and N: P molar ratios for zebra mussel tissue were higher in August and somewhat in September than in all other months. N was retained more efficiently than P in Dreissena tissue. Nutrient mass-specific uptake rate was higher than excretion rate by zebra mussels.

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