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The role of tubificid worms (Limnodrilus hoffmeisteri) in sediment resuspension: a microcosm study

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 August 2014

Lei Zhang
State Key Laboratory of Lake Science and Environment, Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210008, People's Republic of China
Jingge Shang
Department of Environmental Science, China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing 211198, People's Republic of China
Wei He
Shanghai Investigation, Design and Research Institute, Shanghai 200434, People's Republic of China
Bensheng You
State Key Laboratory of Lake Science and Environment, Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210008, People's Republic of China
Chengxin Fan*
State Key Laboratory of Lake Science and Environment, Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210008, People's Republic of China
*Corresponding author:;
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Sediment resuspension is an important internal lake process in regulating nutrient cycling and ecosystem structure. Tubificid worms are widely and abundantly distributed in freshwater ecosystems and are able to alter the sediment characteristics. This study was conducted to verify the hypothesis that the alteration of sediments by tubificids may substantially influence the sediment resuspension process. Specifically, we investigated the influence of Limnodrilus hoffmeisteri (Tubificidae) on sediment resuspension using an apparatus designed to simulate the sediment resuspension process in Lake Taihu (China). We examined L. hoffmeisteri according to its density (30 000 ind.m−2) in Lake Taihu and simulated the light (3.2 m.s−1), moderate (5.1 m.s−1) and strong (8.7 m.s−1) wind processes present in Lake Taihu. Tubificids loosened the sediment through their feeding and defecation activities and increased the sediment water content. The appearance of tubificids increased the suspended solids (SS) in a 1.6 m water column under all three wind processes. During the sedimentation process, SS decreased rapidly in both the control and tubificid treatments. The total SS in the water column was significantly increased by tubificids and it changed significantly with time. In addition, the small size particles of the SS in the tubificid treatment were higher than that in the control. So, the appearance of tubificid worms (L. hoffmeisteri) enhanced sediment resuspension and raised the proportion of small size particles in SS.

Research Article
© EDP Sciences, 2014

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