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Spatio-temporal variability in benthic mineralization processes in the eastern English Channel

TitreSpatio-temporal variability in benthic mineralization processes in the eastern English Channel
Type de publicationJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuteursRauch, M, Denis, L

The effect of phytodetritus derived from Phaeocystis sp. bloom on benthic mineralization processes has been determined at four intertidal stations along the French coast of the eastern English Channel. Sites were chosen to offer a diversity of sediment types, from permeable sandy beach to estuarine mudflats. Sediment Oxygen Demand (SOD) as well as total fluxes of Dissolved Inorganic Nitrogen (DIN) at the sediment-water interface were determined by using whole core incubation technique and diffusive fluxes were predicted from interstitial water concentrations. In the absence of phytodetritus deposits, a marked gradient of granulometric characteristics and organic matter contents were observed, and resulted in more intensive mineralization processes in muddy sediments. Highly significant correlations (P < 0.05) were evidenced between SOD and porosity, bacterial biomass, Organic Carbon and Organic Nitrogen, evidencing the direct link between sediment texture, organic matter accumulation and microbial activity. The spring bloom led to a massive input of organic matter in surficial sediments and mineralization rates significantly increased while higher DIN release towards the water column was observed. A modification of the mineralization pathways was evidenced but clearly depended on the sediment type. With a global view, benthic mineralization processes in the intertidal zone provided significant a part of DIN inputs in the coastal zone while water column was depleted in nutrients.