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The plankton tower. II. Release of nutrients from sediments due to changes in the density of bottom water



227 34 34 4 4 V. Smetacek B. von Bodungen K. von Bröckel B. Zeitzschel Institut für Meereskunde an der Universität Kiel Kiel Germany (FRG) Abstract Results of an enclosure experiment carried out in Kiel Bight are presented. A water column of about 30 m 3 , extending from the surface to the bottom over a 3 m 2 patch of sediment (coarse sand), was isolated and observed over a period of 33 days. Considerable water exchange took place with the surroundings partly because of near-surface openings that appeared in the enclosure but mainly because of density changes due to salinity fluctuations in the surrounding water. This denser water entered the enclosure through the sediments, displacing the lighter water through the near-surface openings. Very high nutrient and low oxygen values were measured in the bottom water immediately following this higher-density water influx. The same effect was observed outside the enclosure, but this phenomenon was not marked here, probably due to greater turbulent mixing obscuring this effect. It is postulated that interstitial, water is flushed out of coarse-grained sediments by gravity displacement due to changes in the density of bottom water. In certain areas this mechanism of nutrient release from the sediments is presumably of great ecological importance, both for the phytoplankton and the benthos.



Marine BiologySpringer Journals

Published: Mar 1, 1976

DOI: 10.1007/BF00398131

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