This study shows foraminiferal dynamics after experimentally induced hypoxia within the wider context of ecosystem recovery. 13C-labeled bicarbonate and glucose were added to the sediments to examine foraminiferal diet shifts during ecosystem recovery and test-size measurements were used to deduce population dynamics. Hypoxia-treated and undisturbed patches were compared to distinguish natural (seasonal) fluctuations from hypoxia-induced responses. The effect of timing of disturbance and duration of recovery were investigated. The foraminiferal diets and population dynamics showed higher fluctuations in the recovering patches compared to the controls. The foraminiferal diet and population structure of Haynesina germanica and Ammonia beccarii responded differentially and generally inversely to progressive stages of ecosystem recovery. Tracer inferred diet estimates in April and June and the two distinctly visible cohorts in the test-size distribution, discussed to reflect reproduction in June, strongly suggest that the ample availability of diatoms during the first month of ecosystem recovery after the winter hypoxia was likely profitable to A. beccarii. Enhanced reproduction itself was strongly linked to the subsequent dietary shift to bacteria. The distribution of the test dimensions of H. germanica indicated that this species had less fluctuation in population structure during ecosystem recovery but possibly reproduced in response to the induced winter hypoxia. Bacteria seemed to consistently contribute more to the diet of H. germanica than diatoms. For the diet and test-size distribution of both species, the timing of disturbance seemed to have a higher impact than the duration of the subsequent recovery period.
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