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Microphytobenthos biomass and community composition studied by pigment biomarkers: importance and fate in the carbon cycle of a tidal flat
Barranguet, C.; Herman, P.M.J.; Sinke, J.J. (1997). Microphytobenthos biomass and community composition studied by pigment biomarkers: importance and fate in the carbon cycle of a tidal flat. J. Sea Res. 38(1-2): 59-70. dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1385-1101(97)00032-4
In: Journal of Sea Research. Elsevier/Netherlands Institute for Sea Research: Amsterdam; Den Burg. ISSN 1385-1101, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine
Author keywords
    microphytobenthos; plant pigments; tidal flats; Westerschelde

Authors  Top 
  • Barranguet, C., more
  • Herman, P.M.J.
  • Sinke, J.J.

Abstract
    Microphytobenthos biomass and community composition were studied by the use of pigment biomarkers during one year at a tidal flat located in the Westerschelde (SW Netherlands). Benthic microphytes appeared to be an important carbon source in the Westerschelde, especially in the central part of the flat with a mean biomass as high as 65 mg Chl a m-2 in the superficial 1 mm of sediment. Diatoms (fucoxanthin, Chl c) dominated the population during both spring and autumn blooms. In summer microphytobenthic biomass decreased, and diatoms coexisted with Cyanobacteria (zeaxanthin) and Euglenophyceae (Chl b, zeaxanthin and lutein). The shift in the community composition may possibly be linked with the decrease in silicon concentration in the overlying water. The degradation and recycling of microphytobenthic biomass was assessed by the study of degraded chlorophyll pigments, and pigments in deeper sediment layers. The fate of microphytobenthos appears to include rapid bacterial degradation in spring, episodic grazing by benthic animals in surface layers of sediments in the centre of the flat, and export by resuspension in sediments more exposed to currents.

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