Lability and Microbial Community of Bivalve Biodeposits

Collaborators:   BK Song (VIMS); Rebecca Kolkmeyer (UVA)


As filter feeders, clams, oysters, and mussels serve similar functions, clearing the water of particulates and delivering organic matter to the sediments.  However, their effects on biogeochemical cycling of nutrients and carbon are quite different, likely due to a combination of variables such as environmental factors, organism behavior and life histories, and the ‘quality’ of their biodeposits (waste).  This research investigated and compared the lability (degradability) of clam, oyster, and mussel biodeposits, their potential to stimulate denitrification, and the microbial community associated with the biodeposits.  Our results suggest clam biodeposits are more labile than oyster and mussel and have the highest potential to promote N removal through denitrification.  Interestingly, the microbial communities associated with the different biodeposits were significantly different despite the fact that the bivalves fed in the same water.