Estuaries

, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 1097–1106

Sediment community metabolism associated with continental shelf hypoxia, Northern Gulf of Mexico

  • Gilbert T. Rowe
  • Marta Elizabeth Cruz Kaegi
  • John W. Morse
  • Gregory S. Boland
  • Elva G. Escobar Briones
Article

Abstract

Net fluxes of respiratory metabolites (O2, dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), NH4+, NO3, and NO2) across the sediment-water interface were measured using in-situ benthic incubation chambers in the area of intermittent seasonal hypoxia associated with the Mississippi River plume. Sulfate reduction was measured in sediments incubated with trace levels of35S-labeled sulfate. Heterotrophic remineralization, measured as nutrient regeneration, sediment community oxygen consumption (SOC), sulfate reduction, or DIC production, varied positively as a function of temperature. SOC was inversely related to oxygen concentration of the bottom water. The DIC fluxes were more than 2 times higher than SOC alone, under hypoxic conditions, suggesting that oxygen uptake alone cannot be used to estimate total community remineralization under conditions of low oxygen concentration in the water column. A carbon budget is constructed that compares sources, stocks, transformations, and sinks of carbon in the top meter of sediment. A comparison of remineralization processes within the sediments implicates sulfate reduction as most important, followed by aerobic respiration and denitrification. Bacteria accounted for more than 90% of the total community biomass, compared to the metazoan invertebrates, due presumably to hypoxic stress.

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Copyright information

© Estuarine Research Federation 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gilbert T. Rowe
    • 1
  • Marta Elizabeth Cruz Kaegi
    • 2
  • John W. Morse
    • 1
  • Gregory S. Boland
    • 3
  • Elva G. Escobar Briones
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of OceanographyTexas A&M UniversityCollege Station
  2. 2.Haddon Heights
  3. 3.Department of the InteriorMinerals Management ServiceNew Orleans
  4. 4.Instituto Ciencias del Mar y LimnologiaUniversidad National Autonoma de MexicoMexicoMexico

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