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Abundance, composition, and sinking rates of fish fecal pellets in the Santa Barbara Channel
Saba, G.K.; Steinberg, D.K. (2012). Abundance, composition, and sinking rates of fish fecal pellets in the Santa Barbara Channel. NPG Scientific Reports 2(716): 6 pp. hdl.handle.net/10.1038/srep00716
In: Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2045-2322, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Saba, G.K.
  • Steinberg, D.K.

Abstract
    Rapidly sinking fecal pellets are an important component of the vertical flux of particulate organic matter (POM) from the surface to the ocean's interior; however, few studies have examined the role fish play in this export. We determined abundance, size, prey composition, particulate organic carbon/nitrogen (POC/PON), and sinking rates of fecal pellets produced by a forage fish, likely the northern anchovy, in the Santa Barbara Channel. Pellet abundance ranged from 0.1–5.9 pellets m-3. POC and PON contents averaged 21.7 µg C pellet-1 and 2.7 µg N pellet-1. The sinking rate averaged 787 m d-1; thus pellets produced at the surface would reach the benthos (~500 m) in <1 day. Estimated downward flux of fish fecal POC reached a maximum of 251 mg C m-2 d-1. This is equal to or exceeds previous measurements of sediment trap POM flux, and thus may transport significant amounts of repackaged surface material to depth.

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