To assess the origin and degradation state of the organic particles sinking towards the sea bottom of the Mallorca continental slope, the major inorganic and organic components of the total mass flux and its biochemical compo- sition (in terms of protein, carbohydrate, lipid and phytopigment contents) have been analysed. Two instrument- ed lines were deployed at the western (Sóller station, Balearic sub-basin) and southern (Cabrera station, Algerian sub-basin) slopes of Mallorca Island, 900 m depth from November 2009 to January 2011. The two locations are characterized by putatively different environmental settings. Settled material at Sóller station has higher lithogenic contents when compared with the Cabrera one. Such difference can be explained by the synergistic presence in the Sóller station of large inputs of resuspended material due to the mesoscale variability of the Balearic current and the impact of bottom trapped waves. On the other hand, at the Cabrera station sinking particles are characterized by OM and opal percentages higher than those recorded at the Sóller station. This result points out that organic particles reaching the sea floor at the Cabrera station have a pre-eminent pelagic origin. Based on analyses of the C and N stable isotopes of the sinking material, our results also highlight that, overall, the OM reaching the sea floor at the Mallorca slope is mostly of marine origin. In general, the OM settled at the Sóller station has a higher nutritional value than that at the Cabrera one. Such a difference, occurring across a relatively reduced spatial scale, let us hypothesizing that the nutritionally richer particles descending in the Cabrera station are exposed to a less energetic environment than that in the Sóller setting. This would lead to higher settling velocity of particles in the Sóller setting which in turn would result in lower degradation rates of particles during their descent towards the sea bottom.

Organic carbon inputs to the sea bottom of the Mallorca continental slope

PUSCEDDU, ANTONIO
2015

Abstract

To assess the origin and degradation state of the organic particles sinking towards the sea bottom of the Mallorca continental slope, the major inorganic and organic components of the total mass flux and its biochemical compo- sition (in terms of protein, carbohydrate, lipid and phytopigment contents) have been analysed. Two instrument- ed lines were deployed at the western (Sóller station, Balearic sub-basin) and southern (Cabrera station, Algerian sub-basin) slopes of Mallorca Island, 900 m depth from November 2009 to January 2011. The two locations are characterized by putatively different environmental settings. Settled material at Sóller station has higher lithogenic contents when compared with the Cabrera one. Such difference can be explained by the synergistic presence in the Sóller station of large inputs of resuspended material due to the mesoscale variability of the Balearic current and the impact of bottom trapped waves. On the other hand, at the Cabrera station sinking particles are characterized by OM and opal percentages higher than those recorded at the Sóller station. This result points out that organic particles reaching the sea floor at the Cabrera station have a pre-eminent pelagic origin. Based on analyses of the C and N stable isotopes of the sinking material, our results also highlight that, overall, the OM reaching the sea floor at the Mallorca slope is mostly of marine origin. In general, the OM settled at the Sóller station has a higher nutritional value than that at the Cabrera one. Such a difference, occurring across a relatively reduced spatial scale, let us hypothesizing that the nutritionally richer particles descending in the Cabrera station are exposed to a less energetic environment than that in the Sóller setting. This would lead to higher settling velocity of particles in the Sóller setting which in turn would result in lower degradation rates of particles during their descent towards the sea bottom.
Balearic Sea; Mallorca Island; Particulate organic matter; Resuspended sediments; Sediment biogeochemistry; Sediment traps; Western Mediterranean Sea; Aquatic Science; Oceanography; Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11584/133193
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