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Free Content Diagenesis of planktonic fatty acids and sterols in Long Island Sound sediments: Influences of a phytoplankton bloom and bottom water oxygen content

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Diagenesis of organic matter in coastal sediments from Long Island Sound (LIS) was investigated by measuring fatty acids and sterols in (1) a time-series of surface sediment samples over a spring phytoplankton bloom; and (2) sediment cores collected during and after a bloom at two sites with distinctively different bottom-water oxygen contents. Time-dependent distributions of sedimentary fatty acids and sterols in LIS were strongly affected by pulsed inputs from the overlying water column, variations in benthic community, and redox-related degradation processes. The phytoplankton bloom delivered an intense pulse of unsaturated fatty acids (e.g., 16:1(7) and 20:5) to the surface sediments. Continuous increases of cholesterol and diunsaturated sterols after the bloom were related to zooplankton grazing processes and increase in benthic faunal abundance. High inventories of planktonic fatty acids and sterols in the upper 5 cm sediments were observed at the low oxygen site during summer, probably caused by a combination of higher input, reduced degradation rates and lower macrofaunal activity under anoxic conditions compared to oxic conditions.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 1999

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  • The Journal of Marine Research, one of the oldest journals in American marine science, 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. Biological studies involving coupling between ecological and physical processes are preferred over those that report systematics. The editors strive always to serve authors and readers in the academic oceanographic community by publishing papers vital to the marine research in the long and rich tradition of the Sears Foundation for Marine Research. We welcome you to the Journal of Marine Research.
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