Marine Biology

, Volume 83, Issue 1, pp 83–94 | Cite as

Sedimentation and benthic mineralization of organic detritus in a Norwegian fjord

  • P. Wassmann


The supply of particulate material to the sea-bed as well as the oxygen consumption and the redox potential of the sea-bed were measured during a one-year period (1979/1980) at 60 and 90 m depth in the inner part of a west Norwegian fjord, Fanafjorden. At both sites, uniform sedimentation rates of total particulate material (825 and 885 g m-2 yr-1, respectively) and particulate inorganic material (576 and 616 g m-2 yr-1, respectively) were found. The sedimentation rates of particulate organic carbon (96 and 107 g m-2 yr-1, respectively) and particulate organic nitrogen (10 and 12 g m-2 yr-1, respectively) were low in winter, higher in summer and autumn, with maxima in May/June, reflecting similar maxima in the phytoplankton biomass in the area, with 6 to 8 wk delay. The oxygen consumption of the sea-floor was lowest in winter/spring and highest in summer. Thirtytwo and 38 g C m-2 yr-1 (respiration quotient=0.85) were metabolized by the sediment at 60 and 90 m, respectively. The simultaneous measurements of sedimentation rates and sediment oxygen uptake throughout a whole year demonstrated that the benthic mineralization is governed by the sedimentation over a longer time-scale, but that seasonal imbalances do occur. A box-model of the flux of particulate organic carbon to the sediment surface is presented, and includes the relevant processes and some quantitative estimates.


Phytoplankton Sedimentation Oxygen Consumption Sedimentation Rate Detritus 
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© Springer-Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Wassmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Marine BiologyUniversity of BergenBlomsterdalenNorway

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