Marine Snow: What It Is and How It Affects Ecosystem Functioning

  • M. W. Silver
  • S. L. Coale
  • D. K. Steinberg
  • C. H. Pilskaln

Summary

Particulate “snow” is a common feature of marine and fresh waters. Formed by both biological and physical processes, it is a short-lived home for pelagic and substrate-adapted organisms. Snow communities are often dense, serving as important foraging centers for small consumers. The particle matrix is a chemically distinctive microenvironment and a site of intense photosynthesis and mineralization. Sinking snow may also transport its associated populations to depth. The distinctive benthic-like nature of the snow habitat appears to have promoted the evolution of a fauna that adds species diversity to pelagic communities.

Keywords

Biomass Respiration Photosynthesis Advection Detritus 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. W. Silver
  • S. L. Coale
  • D. K. Steinberg
  • C. H. Pilskaln

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