Provenance of organic matter and nutrient conditions on a river- and upwelling influenced shelf: A case study from the Portuguese margin

Alt-Epping, U., Mil-Homens, M., Hebbeln, D., Abrantes, F. and Schneider, R. R. (2007) Provenance of organic matter and nutrient conditions on a river- and upwelling influenced shelf: A case study from the Portuguese margin Marine Geology, 243 (1-4). pp. 169-179. DOI 10.1016/j.margeo.2007.04.016.

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Organic matter contained in surface sediments from four regions on the western Portuguese shelf, which are influenced by coastal upwelling and fluvial input, was analysed with respect to elemental organic carbon (C-org) and nitrogen (N-total) content and isotopic carbon and nitrogen ratios (delta C-13(org), delta N-15). C-org/N-total weight ratios and delta C-13(org), values are interpreted in terms of terrigenous or marine organic matter sources, supported by CaCO3 content. Organic matter in the shelf sediments is mainly of marine origin, with increasing terrigenous components only close to rivers and estuaries. In the northern shelf region the data indicates significant terrigenous supply by the Douro River. North of the Nazare Canyon organic matter composition implies a mainly marine origin, with a higher terrestrial influence close to the canyon head. Organic matter composition in the central shelf region, which is dominated by the Tagus Estuary and the Tagus prodelta, reveals a change from a continental-type signature within the estuary to a more marine-type signature further to the west and south of the estuary mouth. In the southern region near Cape Sines the geochemical properties clearly reflect the marine origin of sedimentary organic matter. Sedimentary delta N-15 values are interpreted to reflect various degrees of assimilation of seasonally upwelled nitrate, in relation to the upwelling centres. In the estuarine environment, inputs of agriculturally influenced dissolved inorganic nitrogen are reflected in the sediments. No evidence for N-2-fixation or denitrification is found. On the central shelf north of the Nazare canyon, sedimentary delta N-15 values are close to marine delta(NO3-)-N-15 and thus indicate a complete NO3- assimilation and N-limitation of marine production. Light delta N-15, values in distal sediments off the Douro River mouth and in samples south of C. Sines reflect high NO3 supply and a close proximity to the seasonal upwelling centres. Particularly in sediments form the Sines region, light delta N-15 values in southern samples reflect stronger upwelling further south. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: organic matter provenance upwelling pattern delta N-15 delta C-13(org) C/N ratio Portuguese margin marine plankton isotope ratios sediments nitrogen carbon ocean accumulation transport estuary sea
Research affiliation: Kiel University
Refereed: No
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.margeo.2007.04.016
ISSN: 0025-3227
Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2012 05:54
Last Modified: 09 Oct 2012 03:57

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