A time dynamic model was used to estimate carbon flows through nematodes in an intertidal benthic ecosystem in the Westerschelde Estuary, The Netherlands. The model calibrated the nematode biomass observed from March 1991 to February 1992. The forcing functions of the model included meiobenthos biomass, macrobenthos biomass, bacterial density, chlorophyll-a concentration, and other abiotic data such as temperature and day length. We estimate that the nematode population had a low level of standing stock 249 mg C m(-2), but a high level of carbon flow. It consumed 98 mg C m(-2) d(-1) and pro-duced 22 mg C m(-2) d(-1). Defecation was 73 mg C m(-2) d(-1). Losses in respiration, excretion and natural death were only 3 mg C m(-2) d(-1). The annual P/B was 32 for local nematode community. These data show the importance of nematodes in the decomposition of particles of organic matter, and as a pathway from organic detritus to higher trophic levels in the benthic ecosystem. [KEYWORDS: carbon flow, marine nematodes, meiobenthos]
Original languageEnglish
JournalFundamental and Applied Nematology
Journal publication date1997

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