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Oxygen minimum seafloor ecological (mal) functioning
Moodley, L.; Nigam, R.; Ingole, B.; Babu, C.P.; Panchang, R.; Nanajkar, M.; Sivadas, S.; van Breugel, P.; van Ijzerloo, L.; Rutgers, R.; Heip, C.H.R.; Middelburg, J.J. (2011). Oxygen minimum seafloor ecological (mal) functioning. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 398(1-2): 91-100.
In: Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. Elsevier: New York. ISSN 0022-0981; e-ISSN 1879-1697, meer
Peer reviewed article  

Beschikbaar in  Auteurs 

Author keywords
    Anoxic; Benthos; Carbon preservation; Ecosystem functioning; Hypoxic;Oxygen minimum zone (OMZ); Sapropel; Sediment carbon recycling; Stableisotopes

Auteurs  Top 
  • Moodley, L., meer
  • Nigam, R.
  • Ingole, B.
  • Babu, C.P.
  • Panchang, R.
  • Nanajkar, M.
  • Sivadas, S.
  • van Breugel, P.
  • van Ijzerloo, L., meer
  • Rutgers, R., meer
  • Heip, C.H.R., meer
  • Middelburg, J.J., meer

    Although organic matter (OM) settling on the seafloor is generally rapidly recycled, a key ecological process, large scale burial events manifest itself in the marine sedimentary record as organic carbon (C(org))-rich layers. Presently, this prevails under certain oceanic settings such as the oxygen minimum zones (OMZ) where OM accumulates in underlying sediments. A basic question that remains is as to what extent this C(org) accumulation reflects ecological "malfunctioning" or a shunting of ecological processes? Experimenting with eastern Arabian Sea OMZ sediment we found no evidence that C(org) accumulation here is not due to trophic satiation or to low tolerance of biota to severe oxygen depletion. However, we found direct evidence that suggests that the OMZ sediment C(org) has very low bioavailability that probably impairs biological transformation.
    In the first set of experiments, the impact of oxygenation on the benthic ecological functioning was examined by following the fate of fresh, highly degradable OM ((13)C-labelled diatoms) in intact sediment cores incubated for 7 days under normoxic versus suboxic bottom water conditions. Tracer organic matter assimilation (by bacteria and fauna) and respiration was evident and similar under both treatments and demonstrates that the benthic response was not hindered by severe oxygen depletion. Furthermore, relatively low biomass standing stock of fauna and bacteria, in spite of sediment high C(org) content, together with this clear uptake of fresh tracer OM suggest that the benthic community was not food saturated.
    In a second set of experiments, the bioavailability of in situ OMZ organic matter was determined directly through CO(2) production rate measurements in bottle sediment-water slurry incubations. In sharp contrast to fresh tracer algal carbon which had a half-life 0.07 years, the OMZ surficial sediment OM half-life was similar to 67 years already in very early diagenesis. Clearly, a distinct difference in functioning and indicates that a large fraction of OMZ sediment organic matter is evidently excluded from immediate first-hand biotic transformation but on its own represents a link between the "fast (biological)" and the "slow (geological)" carbon cycle along the continuum of OM recycling. Furthermore, while this rapid shift out of the "fast" biological cycle may be common or characteristic of large scale OM accumulation events, a comparison with an ancient C(org)-deposit suggest that the trigger mechanisms may not be uniform.

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