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Seasonal carbon cycling in a Greenlandic fjord: an integrated pelagic and benthic study
Sørensen, H.L.; Meire, L.; Juul-Pedersen, T.; de Stigter, H.C.; Meysman, F.J.R.; Rysgaard, S.; Thamdrup, B.; Glud, R.N. (2015). Seasonal carbon cycling in a Greenlandic fjord: an integrated pelagic and benthic study. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 539: 1-17.
In: Marine Ecology Progress Series. Inter-Research: Oldendorf/Luhe. ISSN 0171-8630, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

Author keywords
    Arctic; Climate changes; Primary production; POC export; Benthic biogeochemistry; Denitrification; Anammox; Sulfate reduction

Authors  Top 
  • Sørensen, H.L.
  • Meire, L., more
  • Juul-Pedersen, T.
  • de Stigter, H.C., more
  • Meysman, F.J.R., more
  • Rysgaard, S.
  • Thamdrup, B.
  • Glud, R.N., more

    Climate change is expected to have a pronounced effect on biogeochemical cycling in Arctic fjords, but current insight on the biogeochemical functioning of these systems is limited. Here, we present seasonal data on primary production, export of particulate organic carbon (POC), and the coupling to benthic biogeochemistry in Kobbefjord (SW Greenland). Primary production and associated POC export from the photic zone showed marked seasonality, with annual integrated values of 7.2 and 19.9 mol C m-2 yr-1, respectively. This discrepancy, the isotopic signature, and C:N ratio of the sedimentating material suggested substantial import of marine POC from outside the fjord. At least 52% of the POC export reached the sediment, but the seasonality in pelagic productivity was not reflected in the sediment biogeochemistry, showing only moderate variation. Benthic mineralization and burial of organic carbon amounted to 3.2 and 5.3 mol C m-2 yr-1, respectively. Sulfate reduction was the most prominent mineralization pathway, accounting for 69% of the benthic mineralization, while denitrification accounted for 2%. Overall, the carbon mineralization and burial in Kobbefjord were significantly higher than previously observed in other more northerly Arctic fjords. Data compilation from Arctic fjords suggests proportional increases in surface production, POC export, benthic mineralization and burial of organic material with increasing duration of the ice-free period. Thus, the projected decline in ice coverage in higher Arctic Greenlandic fjords will, as a first approximation, entail proportional increases in productivity, mineralization, and burial of organic carbon in the fjords, which will thus become similar to present-day southerly systems.

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