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Free Content Variation of nonlocal irrigation in a subtidal benthic community

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Abstract:

Irrigation, the effect of the pumping activity by benthic infauna on pore water solute distribution and fluxes, may be represented by a nonlocal irrigation function, α (units: 1/time) in the general diagenetic equation. We derived α from the distribution of a solute tracer, bromide, during laboratory incubations of sediment cores containing their natural faunal community. Sediments were sampled on 4 occasions over a period of one year from a site at 30 m depth in the southern North Sea. Fitting an irrigation function exponentially decaying with depth, we arrived at α-values ranging from 25 to >200 yr-1 at the sediment water interface and α < 10 at 16 cm depth. The importance of meaningful horizontal averaging was shown by contrasting our values with unreasonable high α based on inappropriate sampling. Variability of α between adjacent samples (n = 3-6) was as large as seasonal differences, and this fact underlines the necessity for cautious interpretation of data from single cores. No temperature effect on α was observed in the temperature range of 5-16°C since abundance of fauna and their behavior completely dominated the magnitude of α. Nutrient fluxes associated with this nonlocal irrigation are highly variable on a spatial scale reflecting macrofauna heterogeneity. The irrigation flux reduces the relative importance of temperature as a factor on benthic-pelagic solute fluxes.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1357/002224003322201223

Publication date: May 1, 2003

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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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