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Free Content Similar rapid response to phytodetritus deposition in shallow and deep-sea sediments

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The short-term benthic response to an input of fresh organic matter was examined in vastly contrasting benthic environments (estuarine intertidal to deep-sea) using 13C-labeled diatoms as a tracer of labile carbon. Benthic processing was assessed in major compartments through 13C-enrichment in CO2, in bacteria-specific phospholipids and in fauna tissue. A rapid response was evident in all environments. Under warm bottom water (14–18°C), similar quantities of the added carbon were respired within 24 hours in shallow and deep-sea sediments. However, the speed and magnitude of respiration were strongly reduced under low bottom water temperature (4–6°C), both in a shallow and a deep-sea site. Rapid carbon respiration even in deep-sea sediments almost devoid of fauna highlights the key role of bacteria, the most ubiquitous benthic component, in this short-term respiration of fresh organic matter. However, when present, fauna rapidly ingest algal material, thereby increasing the amount of carbon processed and directly extending carbon flow pathways.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2005

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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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