Water movement can influence the distribution of benthos, in part, by increasing food delivery; however, the impact of advective transport and turbulent diffusion on organic matter flux to nearshore benthic communities is not well quantified. In this study, we measured the vertical particulate organic carbon (POC) and particulate phosphorus (PP) flux in nearshore Lake Michigan using two naturally occurring daughter/parent radionuclide pairs (234Th/238U and 90Y/90Sr) and compared these fluxes to coincident benthic chamber estimates of respiration and total phosphorus efflux by quagga mussels on the lakebed. We found that advective onshore transport and vertical convective mixing increased POC and PP flux to the nearshore benthos by a factor of ~15 and ~30 over offshore trap-derived estimates of flux. From these results, we hypothesize that high benthos population densities are related to an edge effect created when the dominant mechanism of particle delivery transitions from gravitational settling to convection.
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Waples JT, Bootsma HA, Klump VJ (2017) How are coastal benthos fed?. Limnology and Oceanography Letters 2(1): 18–28, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/lol2.10033. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.