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The effect of temperature on organic carbon degradation in marine sediments
Malinverno, A.; Martinez, E.A. (2015). The effect of temperature on organic carbon degradation in marine sediments. NPG Scientific Reports 5(17861): 10 pp.
In: Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2045-2322, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Malinverno, A.
  • Martinez, E.A.

    The degradation of sedimentary particulate organic carbon (POC) is a key carbon cycle process that fuels the deep subseafloor biosphere. The reactivity of POC is expected to decrease with increasing sediment age, severely restricting the energy available to microorganisms. Conversely, increasing temperatures during burial have been proposed to stimulate POC degradation, possibly supplying significant energy to the deep biosphere. To test the importance of temperature, we assembled POC measurements in two global sets of drill sites where sediments underwent either relatively low or high temperatures during burial, which should have resulted in different rates of POC degradation. For ages 5–10?Ma, the decrease of the average POC content with burial is clearly more pronounced in the sites with high temperature histories. Our results support the hypothesis that temperature is one of the fundamental controls on the rate of POC degradation within deeply buried marine sediments.

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