Sinking Jelly-Carbon Unveils Potential Environmental Variability along a Continental Margin

Lebrato, Mario, Molinero, Juan Carlos, Cartes, Joan E., Lloris, Domingo, Melin, Frederic and Beni-Casadella, Laia (2013) Sinking Jelly-Carbon Unveils Potential Environmental Variability along a Continental Margin PLoS ONE, 8 (12). e82070. DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0082070.

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Particulate matter export fuels benthic ecosystems in continental margins and the deep sea, removing carbon from the upper ocean. Gelatinous zooplankton biomass provides a fast carbon vector that has been poorly studied. Observational data of a large-scale benthic trawling survey from 1994 to 2005 provided a unique opportunity to quantify jelly-carbon along an entire continental margin in the Mediterranean Sea and to assess potential links with biological and physical variables. Biomass depositions were sampled in shelves, slopes and canyons with peaks above 1000 carcasses per trawl, translating to standing stock values between 0.3 and 1.4 mg C m2 after trawling and integrating between 30,000 and 175,000 m2 of seabed. The benthopelagic jelly-carbon spatial distribution from the shelf to the canyons may be explained by atmospheric forcing related with NAO events and dense shelf water cascading, which are both known from the open Mediterranean. Over the decadal scale, we show that the jelly-carbon depositions temporal variability paralleled hydroclimate modifications, and that the enhanced jelly-carbon deposits are connected to a temperature-driven system where chlorophyll plays a minor role. Our results highlight the importance of gelatinous groups as indicators of large-scale ecosystem change, where jelly-carbon depositions play an important role in carbon and energy transport to benthic systems.

Document Type: Article
Additional Information: WOS:000328740300018
Keywords: Canyons; Chlorophyll; Climatology; Mediterranean Sea; Ocean temperature; Sea water; Surface water; zooplankton
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EOE-N Experimental Ecology - Food Webs
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-BM Biogeochemical Modeling
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1371/journal.pone.0082070
ISSN: 1932-6203
Projects: EPOCA, ISOS
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2013 11:37
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2017 08:00

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