Cylindrical tanks of unfiltered seawater were rotated on a roller table until the particles in the seawater formed aggregates resembling marine snow. During the summer of 1987 comparisons were made between marine snow in field samples from two coastal sites on seven separate dates, and aggregates formed in the laboratory in seawater samples taken on the same dates. Aggregates in field and laboratory samples were photographed and their dimensions were determined. Particulate composition of the aggregates was characterized by the abundance of diatoms, benthic diatoms, diatom frustules, mineral grains, fecal pellets, and fungal spores. Laboratory-prepared aggregates had a significantly greater short axis, and significantly larger calculated volume than field aggregates. Particulate compositions of field aggregates were paralleled by similar changes in the laboratory product. Dry weights of known numbers of aggregates collected on three dates indicated no significant differences in calculated densities or porosities of marine snow formed in the field and in the laboratory. We suggest that this method of forming marine snow in the laboratory may provide researchers with a useful experimental tool.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Alldredge, A. L. (1979). The chemical composition of macroscopic aggregates in two neritic seas. Limnol. Oceanogr. 24: 855–866
Alldredge, A. L., Gotschalk, C. (1988). In situ setting behavior of marine snow. Limnol. Oceanogr. 33: 339–351
Alldredge, A. L., Youngbluth, M. J. (1985). The significance of macroscopic aggregates (marine snow) as sites for heterotrophic bacterial production in the mesopelagic zone of the subtropical Atlantic. Deep-Sea Res. 32: 1445–1456
Biddanda, B. A. (1985). Microbial synthesis of macroparticulate matter. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 20: 241–251
Caron, D. A., Davis, P. G., Madin, L. P., Sieburth, J. McN. (1982). Heterotrophic bacteria and bacterivorous protozoa in oceanic macroaggregates. Science, New York 218: 795–797
Davoll, P. J., Silver, M. W. (1986). Marine snow aggregates: life history sequence and microbial community of abandoned larvacean houses from Monterey Bay, California. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 33: 111–120
Eisma, D., Boon, J., Groenewegen, T., Ittekkot, V., Kalf, J., Mook, W. G. (1983). Observations on macro-aggregates, particle size and organic composition of suspended matter in the Ems Estuary. Mitt. Geol. Palaeontol. Inst. Univ. Hamburg 55: 295–314
Greve, W. (1968). The “planktonkreisel”, a new device for culturing zooplankton. Mar. Biol. 1: 201–203
Honjo, S., Doherty, K. W., Agarwal, Y. C., Asper, V. L. (1984) Direct optical assessment of large amorphous aggregates (marine snow) in the deep ocean. Deep-Sea Res. 31: 67–76
Kohlmeyer, J., Kohlmeyer, E. (1979). Marine mycology of the higher fungi. Academic Press, New York
Kranck, K., Milligan, T. (1980). Macroflocs: production of marine snow in the laboratory. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 3: 19–24
McCave, I. N. (1984). Erosion, transport and deposition of finegrained marine sediments. In: Stow, D. A. V., Piper, D. J. W. (Eds.). Fine-grained sediments: deep-water processes and facies. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford, p. 35–69
Pearse, A. G. E. (1968). Histochemistry, theoretical and applied. J.& A. Churchill Ltd, London
Silver, M. W., Alldredge, A. L. (1981). Bathypelagic marine snow: deep sea algal and detrital community. J. mar. Res 39: 501–530
Tooby, P. F., Wick, G. L., Isaacs, J. D. (1977). The motions of a small sphere in a rotating velocity field: a possible mechanism for suspending particles in turbulence. J. geophys. Res. 82: 2096–2100
Trent, J. D., Shanks, A. L., Silver, M. W. (1978). In situ and laboratory measurements on macroscopic aggregates in Monterey Bay, California. Limnol. Oceanogr. 23: 626–635
Williams, A. B., Posner, G. S., Woods, W. J., Deubler, E. E. Jr. (1973). A hydrographic atlas of larger North Carolina sounds. University of North Carolina Sea Grant Program. Sea Grant Publication. UNC-SG-73-02
Communicated by J. Grassle, Woods Hole
About this article
Cite this article
Shanks, A.L., Edmondson, E.W. Laboratory-made artificial marine snow: a biological model of the real thing. Mar. Biol. 101, 463–470 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00541648