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Helgoland Marine Research

Open Access

Benthic-pelagic flux rates on mussel beds: tunnel and tidal flume methodology compared

  • H. Asmus1,
  • R. M. Asmus1,
  • T. C. Prins2,
  • N. Dankers3,
  • G. Francés1,
  • B. Maaß1 and
  • K. Reise1
Helgoländer Meeresuntersuchungen46:BF02367104


Material flux rates in an intertidal mussel bed were measured synchronously over two tidal cycles in June 1989 with Benthic Ecosystem Tunnels and a double lane flume. The tunnels enclosed the near bottom water, whereas the flume canalized the total water column. One tunnel was set up in a mussel bed and another one in an adjacent sand bottom as a control. The flume enclosed a mussel lane and a sand lane. In the tunnel and in the flume the mussel bed revealed ammonium and phosphate discharge. At the same time, phytoplankton, dominated byPhyaeocystis globosa, was taken up intensively. These flux rates showed the same tendency but they were higher in the flume than in the tunnel. Different tendencies and flux rates for oxygen and particulate organic matter (POC, PN) were found in flume and tunnel. These differences demonstrate the importance of water column processes regarding the material exchange of a mussel bed. Tunnels enclose smaller bodies of water and are therefore expected to detect even small effects of the benthos on the passing water. In flumes, benthic influence may be diluted over the entire water column but conditions are more natural. The use of flumes is restricted to shallow waters while tunnels have the potential to be used at any depth.


PhytoplanktonWater ColumnParticulate Organic MatterTidal CycleFlux Rate