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Free Content Carbon cycling in mesohaline Chesapeake Bay sediments 1: POC deposition rates and mineralization pathways

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Organic carbon cycling in sediments at two locations in the mesohaline Chesapeake Bay was analyzed using available data on sediment sulfate reduction, sediment oxygen consumption, and particulate organic carbon (POC) deposition and burial. Estimates of POC deposition based on the sum of integrated sediment metabolism and POC burial compared well with direct estimates derived from chlorophyll-a collection rates in mid-water column sediment traps. The range of POC deposition estimates (15–31 mol C m−2 yr−1) accounted for a large fraction (36–74%) of average annual net primary production in the mesohaline Bay. The difference between rates of POC deposition and permanent burial indicated that 70–85% of deposited carbon is mineralized on the time scale of a year. Carbon mineralization through sulfate reduction accounted for 30–35% of average net primary production, and was likely responsible for 60–80% of total sediment carbon metabolism. Oxidation of reduced sulfur accounted for a large but quantitatively uncertain portion of SOC in mid-Bay sediments. Our results highlight the quantitative significance of organic carbon sedimentation and attendant anaerobic sediment metabolism in the carbon cycle of a shallow, highly productive estuary.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 1995

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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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