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Distribution and sedimentation of faecal pellets on the Nordvestbanken shelf, northern Norway, in 1994
Wassmann, P.; Hansen, L.; Andreassen, I.; Wexels Riser, Ch.; Urban-Rich, J. (1999). Distribution and sedimentation of faecal pellets on the Nordvestbanken shelf, northern Norway, in 1994. Sarsia 84: 239-252
In: Sarsia. University of Bergen. Universitetsforlaget: Bergen. ISSN 0036-4827, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Wassmann, P.
  • Hansen, L.
  • Andreassen, I.
  • Wexels Riser, Ch.
  • Urban-Rich, J.

Abstract
    A close seasonal coherence between mesozooplankton and abundance of faecal pellets was encountered at Nordvestbanken,northern Norwegian shelf, in 1994. Mesozooplankton at Nordvestbanken influenced the vertical flux of organic matter by production, consumption, modification, and destruction of faecal pellets. On average,11-37 %of particulate organic, vertical carbon flux was comprised by faecal pellets. The pelagic degradation of organic matter at Nordvestbanken appears to be reduced due to the low pelagic residence time in the upper 100 m of the water column of faecal pellets (1.3- 8.3 d).The specific seasonal sinking rates of faecal pellets (12-77 m d -1 )fell well into the range of in situ and in vitro sinking rates reported in the literature for the dominating classes of faecal pellets at Nordvestbanken, i.e. from calanoid copepods and pteropods. The shape, colour, density, and degree of fragmentation of faecal pellets appears to reflect variations and changing preferences in the diet of mesozooplankton throughout the season. Although the vertical flux was dominated by detritus, faecal pellets comprised at any time significant fractions (up to 66 %)of the particulate vertical carbon flux. Minipellets were found throughout the water column and season, but comprised only a small amount of the total faecal pellet carbon due to their small volume: pellet ratio. Despite their size, minipellets may be important for the regulation of vertical export of organic matter.

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