Sand sediments are widely distributed in the shelf zone of the World Ocean. The main physical and ecological peculiarity of marine sands is the mobility of pore waters and their mixing with the near-bottom waters of the sea. The mixing is closely related to turbulent processes in the water column; the most important of these processes is wave mixing. This causes filtration of seawater through the sand, ensuring therefore, perhaps, the most large-scale filtration process on the Earth. Advective mixing redistributes dissolved oxygen and nutrients between the pore waters of the sand and the bulk of the seawater column and determines redox conditions in the sediment column, which usually are either oxidative or suboxic; the metals with variable valence, mostly iron, serve as a redox buffer. The regeneration of nutrients and nitrification of ammonia also take place in the sand column. The instability of advective mixing is considered as the major difficulty for qualitative assessment of energetic metabolism and regeneration of nutrients in sands as well as for revealing the ecological role of marine sands in coastal ecosystems.
Russian Journal of Marine Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 7, 2004
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