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Free Content On the contribution of the benthos to pelagic production

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Annual production and consumption of oxygen were compared in large outdoor mesocosms differing only in the presence or absence of an intact benthic community and associated sediments. Both daily apparent production and nighttime respiration of oxygen were greater in tanks with a benthos. The fluxes of oxygen into, and dissolved inorganic nitrogen out of the bottom were also greater in tanks with an intact benthos. In tanks with a benthos, calculated gross system production increased 33% relative to tanks lacking a benthos. Depending on assumed O:N ratios only 45–60% of this increase was attributable to differences in the flux of inorganic nitrogen from the benthos to the water column. Nearly 40% was evidently fueled by higher rates of recycling in the water column. Between 3 and 17% of the difference in production could not be attributed to either source. The benthos apparently affects production in the water column not only by supplying nutrients directly, but also by enhancing rates of pelagic recycling.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 1989

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  • The Journal of Marine Research publishes peer-reviewed research articles covering a broad array of topics in physical, biological and chemical oceanography. Articles that deal with processes, as well as those that report significant observations, are welcome. In the area of biology, studies involving coupling between ecological and physical processes are preferred over those that report systematics. Authors benefit from thorough reviews of their manuscripts, where an attempt is made to maximize clarity. The time between submission and publication is kept to a minimum; there is no page charge.
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