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Closed Access item Biochemical composition of marine sediment from the eastern Weddell Sea (Antarctica): High nutritive value in a high benthic-biomass environment

Authors:Isla, Enrique
Rossi, Sergio
Palanques, Albert
Gili, Josep Maria
Gerdes, D.
Arntz, Wolf E.
Keywords:Antarctica, Weddell Sea, Marine sediments, Biochemical composition, Organic matter, Benthic communities, Suspension feeders
Issue Date:May-2006
Citation:Journal of Marine Systems 60(3-4): 255-267(2006)
Abstract:Within the SCAR's international EASIZ programme, as part of the benthic–pelagic coupling experiment, grain size and organic matter contents in marine surface sediment were measured. Samples were taken during the austral autumn of 2000 from 3 regions in the eastern Weddell Sea: Kapp Norvegia, Four Seasons Bank, and Austasen. In general, sediments were fine sand with a grain size fraction < 200 μm representing more than 40% of the total weight. The sediments from Four Seasons Bank (64 to 107 m depth) were coarser than those from Austasen and Kapp Norvegia (209 to 480 m depth), presumably due to winnowing of fine sediment at shallow depths. Organic carbon (OC) content ranged from 0.25% to 1.2% and constituted 10% to 97% of the total carbon. The samples from Kapp Norvegia presented the highest OC values. Overall, protein (PRT), lipid (LPD), and carbohydrate (CHO) contents were similar to those in sediment from cold regions (e.g., the North Atlantic and the Ross Sea) but higher than those in sediment from other Antarctic and more septentrional regions (e.g., the Ross Sea and the Mediterranean). The difference within the Antarctic is explained through the local conditions in Terra Nova Bay and Kapp Norvegia. In the Antarctic, PRT and LPD carbon were the main contributors to the biopolymeric carbon (BPC). In the eastern Weddell Sea shelf, the BPC accounted for more than 90% of the OC in most of the samples. More than 82% of the total PRT, LPD, and CHO were present in the fraction < 200 μm. This work remarks the existence of sediments with a high nutritional value persistent several weeks after the spring–summer pulse of fresh organic matter. It is also highlighted the high potential availability of these sediments (due to its grain size) for the benthic communities inhabiting this high-latitude continental shelf.
Description:13 pages, 3 figures, 3 tables
Publisher version (URL):http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmarsys.2006.01.006
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