, Volume 24, Issue 7, pp 486-496

Biogeochemistry of platelet ice: its influence on particle flux under fast ice in the Weddell Sea, Antarctica

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An array of four sediment traps and one current meter was deployed under a well-developed platelet layer for 15 days in the Drescher Inlet in the Riiser Larsen ice shelf, in February 1998. Traps were deployed at 10 m (just under the platelet layer), 112 m (above the thermocline), 230 m (below thermocline) and 360 m (close to sea floor). There was a substantial flux of particulate organic material out of the platelet layer, although higher amounts were collected in the traps either side of the thermocline. Material collected was predominantly composed of faecal pellets containing diatom species growing within the platelet layer. The size classes of these pellets suggest they derive from protists grazing rather than from larger metazoans. Sediment trap material was analysed for particulate organic carbon/nitrogen/phosphorus (POC/PON/POP) and δ13CPOC (carbon isotopic composition of POC). These were compared with organic matter in the overlying platelet layer and the water column. In turn, the biogeochemistry of the platelet layer and water column was investigated and the organic matter characteristics related to inorganic nutrients (nitrate, nitrite, ammonium, silicate, phosphate), dissolved organic carbon/nitrogen (DOC/DON), pH, dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), oxygen and δ13CDIC (carbon isotopic composition dissolved inorganic carbon).