Organic pollution is a serious environmental problem for the coastal zones of seas. The study tested the hypothesis that allochthonous organic carbon derived from St. Petersburg wastewaters is a significant basal resource of carbon for the benthic food webs. We analyzed stable isotope composition of carbon and nitrogen in suspended organic matter in the Neva Estuary and in the tissues of macroinvertebrates and fish. The Stable Isotope Bayesian mixing model showed that waste waters were an important source of carbon for the most of consumers in the Neva Estuary. The autochthonous carbon produced by phytoplankton was a significant source of carbon only for some macroinvertebrates. The main consumers of the carbon derived from waste waters were tubificid worms, chironomid larvae and alien polychaete, which currently dominate in the zoobenthos of the estuary. These species replaced the former dominants, native crustaceans, which to a lesser extent use anthropogenic carbon.
Soil organisms are a crucial part of the terrestrial biosphere. Despite their importance for ecosystem functioning, few quantitative, spatially explicit models of the active belowground community currently exist. In particular, nematodes are the most abundant animals on Earth, filling all trophic levels in the soil food web. Here we use 6,759 georeferenced samples to generate a mechanistic understanding of the patterns of the global abundance of nematodes in the soil and the composition of their functional groups. The resulting maps show that 4.4 ± 0.64 × 1020 nematodes (with a total biomass of approximately 0.3 gigatonnes) inhabit surface soils across the world, with higher abundances in sub-Arctic regions (38% of total) than in temperate (24%) or tropical (21%) regions. Regional variations in these global trends also provide insights into local patterns of soil fertility and functioning. These high-resolution models provide the first steps towards representing soil ecological processes in global biogeochemical models and will enable the prediction of elemental cycling under current and future climate scenarios.