The Atacama trench, the deepest ecosystem of the southern Pacific Ocean (ca. 8000 m depth) was investigated during the Atacama Trench International Expedition. Sediments, collected at three bathyal stations (1040-1355 m depth) and at a hadal site (7800 m) were analyzed for organic matter quantity and biochemical composition (in terms of phytopigments, proteins, carbohydrates and lipids), bacterial abundance, biomass and carbon production and extracellular enzymatic activities. Functional chlorophyll-a (18.0±0.10mg m -2), phytodetritus (322.2 mg m-2) and labile organic carbon (16.9±4.3g Cm-2) deposited on surface sediments at hadal depth (7800 m) reached concentrations similar to those encountered in highly productive shallow coastal areas. High values of bacterial C production and aminopeptidase activity were also measured (at in situ temperature and 1 atm). The chemical analyses of the Atacama hadal sediments indicate that this trench behaves as a deep oceanic trap for organic material. We hypothesize that, despite the extreme physical conditions, benthic microbial processes might be accelerated as a result of the organic enrichment.
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|Titolo:||A depocenter of organic matter at 7800m depth in the SE Pacific Ocean|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2003|
|Tipologia:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|