Seasonal variations of bioirrigation in coastal sediments: Modelling of field data

Schlüter, Michael, Sauter, Eberhard, Hansen, Hans Peter and Suess, Erwin (2000) Seasonal variations of bioirrigation in coastal sediments: Modelling of field data Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 64 (5). pp. 821-834. DOI 10.1016/S0016-7037(99)00375-0.

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In near-shore and coastal margin sediments remineralization of organic carbon is significantly affected by biologically mediated solute exchange caused by burrow-dwelling infauna. Although irrigation rates have been determined for various environments, little is known about their seasonal variations and their coupling to the food-supply or the oxygen level in bottom waters. These aspects have been investigated at two sites in the Kiel Bight by modelling pore water concentrations of Cl, which is a suitable tracer for transport processes. A very similar temporal pattern of irrigation was determined at both sites. In spring and fall the effect of bioirrigation on the pore water concentration of Cl is important at both sites, and a more than two to five fold enhancement of solute exchange, relative to diffusional transport, was calculated. The temporal pattern of bioirrigation correlates with that of the Chl.-a (eq) inventory of the surface sediments. Enhanced irrigation rates follow the settling of plankton blooms in this region. During the summer, when low oxygen levels were observed in bottom waters, overall irrigation rates are low. Furthermore, the relative importance of irrigation processes operating close to the sediment surface increases suggesting an upward movement and migration of burrow-dwelling organisms in response to low O2-concentrations. Because bioirrigation is an important transport process coupling organic carbon flux, remineralization at the seafloor, and redox zonation in the sediment quantifying the seasonal cycle of the irrigation intensity represents a step forward in the dynamic understanding of benthic processes.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Seasonal variations, bioirrigation, coastal sediments, Modelling, field data
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-CH Chemical Oceanography
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-MG Marine Geosystems
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1016/S0016-7037(99)00375-0
ISSN: 0016-7037
Projects: SFB313
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2008 17:24
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2017 07:46

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