Early Diagenesis of Organic Matter and the Nutritional Value of Sediment

  • Donald L. Rice
  • Donald C. Rhoads
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes on Coastal and Estuarine Studies book series (COASTAL, volume 31)


The quantity, quality, and spatial distribution of particulate organic matter (POM) in the bioturbated zone of a sedimentary deposit are intimately related to the size and composition of the deposit-feeding community. Fresh allochthonous POM from the water column and autochthonous POM from epibenthic primary production are incorporated into the deposit by burial and through geophysical and biological mixing. Although the quality and quantity of organic materials produced at or settling onto the sediment surface determine benthic secondary production, subsurface particle transport determines how metabolizable POM is distributed within the deposit. Inasmuch as particle transport itself is often dominated by the mechanical activities of deposit-feeding macrofauna (Rhoads 1974; Aller 1982; Rice 1986), the biomass, species composition, and feeding depths of the deposit-feeding community and the standing crop and vertical distribution of metabolizable organic matter are fundamentally interdependent.


Particulate Organic Matter Particulate Organic Carbon Deposit Feeder Subsurface Deposit Feeder Total Particulate Organic Carbon 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald L. Rice
    • 1
  • Donald C. Rhoads
    • 2
  1. 1.Chesapeake Biological LaboratoryUniversity of MarylandSolomonsUSA
  2. 2.Science Applications International Corp.NewportUSA

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