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Macrobenthic Activity and its Effects on Biogeochemical Reactions and Fluxes

  • R. R. Haese
Chapter

Abstract

The impact of macrobenthic activity on the geochemistry of surface sediments is reviewed to provide conceptual insights on animal-sediment relations for benthic ecologists, paleoceanographers applying paleo-redox proxies and geochemists interested in the broad area of early diagenesis. It is pointed out that conceptual models for the geochemical implications of macrobenthic activity are relatively well understood but that quantitative approaches are largely lacking. Consequently, particular attention is directed to in situ and ex situ methods to derive rates of macrobenthic activity. From this literature study it becomes clear that benthic fauna studies and geochemical studies have rarely been integrated. However, this is essential to fully understand the impact of the temporal and spatial variable benthic assemblages on important issues such as organic matter mineralization and metal mobilization in ocean margin sediments. The effects of macrobenthic activity are highly diverse and concern dissolved and solid phase distributions. With respect to nutrient cycling and organic matter mineralization the most important effects arise from bioirrigation. Burrows and tubes are flushed with oxic bottom water which increases the total surface area for aerobic respiration, nitrification and denitrification. In addition, active pumping increases the efflux of dissolved species and creates radial diffusion which is not accounted for when fluxes are quantified from (vertical) pore water profiles by means of molecular diffusion. Since metal diagenesis is ultimately related to solid phase redistributions, e.g. across redox boundaries, bioturbation plays an important role. The depth distribution of bioturbatory activity depends on the feeding strategy of the prevailing fauna which varies significantly.

Keywords

Bottom Water Diffusive Flux Cold Seep Anaerobic Methane Oxidation Biogeochemical Reaction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Earth SciencesUniversity of UtrechtUtrechtThe Netherlands

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