Minireview: The importance of benthic-pelagic coupling and the forgotten role of life cycles in coastal aquatic systems

Marcus, Nancy H., Ferdinando Boero

Limnol. Oceanogr., 43(5), 1998, 763-768 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.1998.43.5.0763

ABSTRACT: The classical models of production and plankton community dynamics in coastal waters include an important role for benthic-pelagic coupling in the form of biogcochemical cycling (the turnover of nutrients in the form of either living matter or its decomposed constituents). We think, however, that biogeochemical explanations of ecosystem functioning underrepresent the actual complexity of the studied phenomena. We suggest that models will be more complete if they incorporate life-cycle patterns of planktonic and benthic organisms. The inclusion of such biological information into an ecological context will enhance the understanding of ecological patterns of global importance. What we presently know provides compelling evidence that new research directions, ranging from sedimentology to systematics and from physiology to molecular biology, are needed.

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