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Free Content An assessment of the use of sediment traps for estimating upper ocean particle fluxes

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This review provides an assessment of sediment trap accuracy issues by gathering data to address trap hydrodynamics, the problem of zooplankton "swimmers," and the solubilization of material after collection. For each topic, the problem is identified, its magnitude and causes reviewed using selected examples, and an update on methods to correct for the potential bias or minimize the problem using new technologies is presented. To minimize hydrodynamic biases due to flow over the trap mouth, the use of neutrally buoyant sediment traps is encouraged. The influence of swimmers is best minimized using traps that limit zooplankton access to the sample collection chamber. New data on the impact of different swimmer removal protocols at the US time-series sites HOT and BATS are compared and shown to be important. Recent data on solubilization are compiled and assessed suggesting selective losses from sinking particles to the trap supernatant after collection, which may alter both fluxes and ratios of elements in long term and typically deeper trap deployments. Different methods are needed to assess shallow and short- term trap solubilization effects, but thus far new incubation experiments suggest these impacts to be small for most elements. A discussion of trap calibration methods reviews independent assessments of flux, including elemental budgets, particle abundance and flux modeling, and emphasizes the utility of U-Th radionuclide calibration methods.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2007

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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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