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Sinking jelly-carbon unveils potential environmental variability along a continental margin
Lebrato, M.; Molinero, J-C.; Cartes, J.E.; Lloris, D.; Mélin, F.; Beni-Casadella, L. (2013). Sinking jelly-carbon unveils potential environmental variability along a continental margin. PLoS One 8(12): 9 pp.
In: PLoS One. Public Library of Science: San Francisco. ISSN 1932-6203, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Canyons Chlorophyll Climatology Mediterranean Sea Ocean temperature Sea water Surface water Zooplankton

Authors  Top 
  • Lebrato, M.
  • Molinero, J-C.
  • Cartes, J.E.
  • Lloris, D.
  • Mélin, F.
  • Beni-Casadella, L.

    Particulate matter export fuels benthic ecosystems in continental margins and the deep sea, removing carbon from the upper ocean. Gelatinous zooplankton biomass provides a fast carbon vector that has been poorly studied. Observational data of a large-scale benthic trawling survey from 1994 to 2005 provided a unique opportunity to quantify jelly-carbon along an entire continental margin in the Mediterranean Sea and to assess potential links with biological and physical variables. Biomass depositions were sampled in shelves, slopes and canyons with peaks above 1000 carcasses per trawl, translating to standing stock values between 0.3 and 1.4 mg C m2 after trawling and integrating between 30,000 and 175,000 m2 of seabed. The benthopelagic jelly-carbon spatial distribution from the shelf to the canyons may be explained by atmospheric forcing related with NAO events and dense shelf water cascading, which are both known from the open Mediterranean. Over the decadal scale, we show that the jelly-carbon depositions temporal variability paralleled hydroclimate modifications, and that the enhanced jelly-carbon deposits are connected to a temperature-driven system where chlorophyll plays a minor role. Our results highlight the importance of gelatinous groups as indicators of large-scale ecosystem change, where jelly-carbon depositions play an important role in carbon and energy transport to benthic systems.

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