The seasonal, spatial and bathymetric changes in the distribution of chloroplastic pigments (Chl a, phaeopigments and CPE), TOC, TON, ATP, bottom water nutrient content and the main biochemical classes of organic compounds (lipids, proteins and carbohydrates) were recorded from May 1994 to September 1995 over the continental margin of northern Crete. The concentration of chloroplastic pigment equivalents (CPE) was always low, dropping dramatically along the shelf-slope gradient. Microbial activity (ATP) also dropped sharply beyond the continental shelf following a distribution pattern similar to TOC and TON. Lipid, protein and carbohydrate concentrations, as well as biopolymeric carbon were comparable to those reported for other more productive areas, however, the quality of the organic matter itself was rather poor. Thus, carbohydrates, the dominant biochemical class, were characterised by being highly (80-99%) refractory, as soluble carbohydrates represented (on annual average) only 6% of the total carbohydrate pool. Protein and lipid concentrations strongly decreased with depth, indicating depletion of trophic resources in the bathyal zone. Proteins appeared to be the more degradable compounds and indeed the protein to carbohydrate ratios were found to decrease strongly in the deeper stations. Organic matter content and quality decreased both with increasing distance from the coast and within the sediment. All sedimentary organic compounds were found to vary between sampling periods, with the changes being more pronounced over the continental shelf. The different temporal patterns of the various components suggest a different composition and/or origin of the OM inputs during the different sampling periods. The amount of material reaching the sediments below 540 m is extremely low, suggesting that most of the organic material is decomposed and/or utilised before reaching the sea floor. In conclusion, the continental shelf and bathyal sediments of the Cretan Sea can be considered, from atrophic point of view, as two different subsystems.
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|Titolo:||Organic matter composition of the continental shelf and bathyal sediments of the Cretan sea (NE Mediterranean)|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2000|
|Tipologia:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|