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Sedimentation of organic detritus in Lochs Etive and Creran, Argyll, Scotland


The rates of sedimentation of organic detritus were measured at 3 stations in two Scottish sea lochs, Loch Etive and Loch Creran, using sedimentation jars exposed at various depths. Details are given of the seasonal and depth distribution of sedimenting material, and its composition for a 1-year period. Differences in the pattern of sedimenting material collected at different depths and in the seasonal patterns of sedimentation at the different stations suggested that, in each case there were differences in the relative importance of detritus from various sources. At all stations, phytoplankton production made a relatively small contribution to the total detritus collected, either directly as dead cells, or indirectly as the faeces of zooplankton organisms. Near the head of Loch Etive there were contributions by filamentous algae and Enteromorpha sp., but a major source of detritus was terrestrial debris, mainly carried into the loch in the waters of the River Etive. In the lower basin of Loch Etive, terrestrial detritus also contributed to the total sedimenting near the surface, but at greater depths much of the material collected in the sedimentation jars probably resulted from short-term resuspension and re-deposition of bottom material, reflecting a net transport of fine sediment from the shallower to the deeper areas of the loch. Secondarily resuspended material was also a major source of material collected in the jars exposed in Loch Creran.

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Communicated by J.H.S. Blaxter, Oban

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Ansell, A.D. Sedimentation of organic detritus in Lochs Etive and Creran, Argyll, Scotland. Marine Biology 27, 263–273 (1974).

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  • Phytoplankton
  • Sedimentation
  • Detritus
  • Fine Sediment
  • Depth Distribution