Skip to main content
padlock icon - secure page this page is secure

Free Content Size-selective downward particle transport by cirratulid polychaetes

Download Article:
The deposition of surficial sediments many centimeters below the sediment-water interface due to the reworking activities of organisms is a potentially important but easily overlooked process in marine sediments. This kind of downward particle transport is difficult to observe in the laboratory or in the field but it has important consequences for bioturbation rates and sediment geochemistry. It is also much more likely to be size dependent than other sediment-mixing mechanisms, such as conveyor-belt feeding, and may also explain some subsurface maxima observed in sediment chemical profiles.

We examined the mechanisms behind downward particle transport in Boston Harbor. Laboratory observations indicated that a large cirratulid polychaete, Cirriformia grandis, collected particles (glass beads) near the sediment surface and deposited them at depth. Furthermore, particle collection by this species was size dependent. C. grandis preferred smaller particles in the 16- to 32-m size range relative to larger particles.

A mathematical model was developed to simulate the feeding and burrowing mechanisms of C. grandis and to predict the vertical profiles of tracer particles of assorted sizes in the field. The model was tested by comparing predicted profiles with profiles of glass beads measured at the field site. These glass beads were deployed in replicated patches on the bottom of Boston Harbor. Vertical distributions of the beads after 99 d were compared to profiles predicted by the model. Good agreement between predicted and measured profiles indicated that the feeding and burrowing mechanisms of C. grandis were sufficient to determine observed patterns of size-dependent bioturbation rates at this site.

36 References.

No Supplementary Data.
No Article Media
No Metrics

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2001

More about this publication?
  • 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.
  • Editorial Board
  • Information for Authors
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Purchase The Sea
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more