John M. Melack
Great Salt Lake (Utah) has a monimolimnion with high concentrations of salts, particulate matter, nutrients, and mercury. To test the importance of brine shrimp (Artemia franciscana) grazing on particulate matter flux, we created salinity gradients in 160-cm high columns, reflecting the lake’s gradient. Two experiments were performed in replicated columns with or without Artemia. Sediment traps were positioned at the bottoms of the mixolimnion (95 cm), chemolimnion (105 cm), or monimolimnion (140 cm). We hypothesized that because of the high salt densities of the monimolimnia, greater accumulation of sediments would be in the lower chemocline, than in the monimolimnia. The presence of Artemia significantly decreased chlorophyll, total nitrogen, and total phosphorus in the mixolimnion and increased particulate matter collected in sediment traps by 28–90%. As hypothesized, the largest increase of sedimenting material was at the top of chemocline, but only in the absence of Artemia. When present, the largest increase of collected matter was in the bottom traps. Artemia significantly decreased the molar TN:TP ratio of collected material, suggesting nitrogen-deficient fecal material. The experiments demonstrated the importance of Artemia grazing for increasing material flux from the mixolimnion to the bottom, and determining the stoichiometry of accumulated material.
Maszczyk, Piotr and Wurtsbaugh, Wayne A., "Brine Shrimp Grazing and Fecal Production Increase sedimentation to the deep brine layer (monimolimnion) of Great Salt Lake, Utah" (2017). Watershed Sciences Faculty Publications. Paper 931.