|The benthic environment of the North Sea (56°-61°N)|
Basford, D.; Eleftheriou, A. (1988). The benthic environment of the North Sea (56°-61°N). J. Mar. Biol. Ass. U.K. 68(1): 125-141
In: Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Cambridge University Press/Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom: Cambridge. ISSN 0025-3154, more
In an attempt to describe the physical and chemical characteristics of the sediments as an environment for the invertebrate benthos, a total of 273 stations covering the sector from 56°N to 61°N in the North Sea was sampled. The sediment samples which were collected by grab and corer were analysed for particle size (as well as silt-clay content and sorting), organic carbon, plant pigments and trace metals (Cd, Pb, Zn, Ni, Co, Cu). On a smaller scale a few stations were sampled for redox potential, pH and pesticides. Taking into account the geological history and the on-going hydrographic processes, explanations for the formation of the sedimentary provinces in the North Sea were provided. The sediments were predominantly fine to medium sand, but there was a depth-related gradient with the finer grades, organic carbon and, to a lesser extent, plant pigment being found in the deeper sedimentation basins of the Fladen Grounds and Norwegian Trench. Trace metals and pesticide contaminants associated with the finer organic and inorganic fractions were higher in the sediments of the above deeper areas as well as in the vicinity of estuaries. It could be concluded that despite the enhanced concentrations of Cd, Ni, Pb and Co, at the east of Shetland, which were due to a geochemical anomaly, there was no evidence of any important or large-scale contamination of the North Sea as a whole.