Biological and physical drivers of bio-mediated sediment resuspension: A flume study on Cerastoderma edule

Francesco Cozzoli*, Tatiana Gomes Da Conceição, Jeroen Van Dalen, Xiaoyu Fang, Vojsava Gjoni, Peter M.J. Herman, Zhan Hu*, Laura M. Soissons, Brenda Walles, Tom Ysebaert, Tjeerd J. Bouma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Predictive models accounting for the effect of bioturbation on sediment resuspension must be based on ecological theory as well as on empirical parametrizations. The scaling trend of individual metabolic and activity rates with body mass may be a key to the mechanistic understanding of the observed patterns. With this study we tested if general size scaling rules in bio-mediated sediment resuspension may apply to a broad range of physical contexts for the endobenthic bivalve Cerastoderma edule. The effect on sediment resuspension of populations of C. edule differing by individual size was measured across physical gradients of current velocity and sediment composition in terms of fraction of fine particles. C. edule were able to enhance the resuspension of sediment containing silt, while they had scarce effect on the resuspension of coarse sediment. The effect of bioturbation was maximal at intermediate current velocity, when the hydrodynamic forcing is not strong enough to overcome the abiotic sediment resistance but it is able to suspend the bioturbated sediment. Although differences in sediment silt content and intensities of hydrodynamic stress have a relevant influence in determining the bioturbators individual contribution to sediment resuspension, the observed mass scaling trend is consistent across all treatments and close to theoretical expectation for size scaling of individual metabolic rates. This observation supports the hypothesis that the contribution of individual bioturbators to sediment resuspension is directly related to their energy use. Therefore, the proposed approach allows the formulation of expectations of biotic contribution to sediment resuspension based on the general size scaling laws of individual energy use.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106824
Number of pages54
JournalEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Early online date1 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • bioturbation
  • cohesiveness
  • body size
  • allometry
  • sediment resuspension
  • Cerastoderma edule


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