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Methane and organic matter as sources for excess carbon dioxide in intertidal surface sands: Biogeochemical and stable isotope evidence

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Böttcher,  M. E.
Department of Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Al-Raei,  A. M.
Department of Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Böttcher, M. E., Al-Raei, A. M., Hilker, Y., Heuer, V., Hinrichs, K. U., & Segl, M. (2007). Methane and organic matter as sources for excess carbon dioxide in intertidal surface sands: Biogeochemical and stable isotope evidence. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 71(15 Suppl. Suppl. S), A111-A111.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-CE24-F
Abstract
The tidal areas of the German Wadden Sea form an important transition zone between the terrestrial and marine environment. Tidal areas represent highly productive marine coastal ecosystems that are under additional influence of riverine inputs. The re-mineralization of organic matter is coupled to reductive processes using oxygen, nitrate, Mn,Fe oxy(hydroxi)des and sulfate as final electron acceptors. Sulfate reduction is involved in the oxidation of DOC and methane, and is the most important anaerobic process leading to a re-flux of CO2 into the water column. CH4 and CO2 are important greenhouse gases. Both are produced in marine sediments but methane fluxes from marine sediments to the water column or the atmosphere are often limited by oxidation. Upon oxidation of organic matter and methane, carbon dioxide is added to pore waters, and both, carbon dioxide and methane may be liberated from intertidal surface sediments into the bottom waters or the atmosphere. Sizes and quality of OM pools and methane concentrations, transport properties as well as biogeochemical processs in intertidal sediments differ in different sediment types (sands, mixed and mud flats). Pore waters and surface sediments from the intertidal of the German Wadden Sea, North Sea, have been analyzed on a seasonal base for a number of (bio)geochemical parameters as, for instance, the contents and isotope composition of TOC, DIC, methane, sulphate reduction rates (SRR), sulfate, sulfide, pyrite, AVS. The typical sediments of the tidal area of Spiekeroog Island have been considered, as sands, mixed and mud flats. The C-13/C-12 partitioning was used to identify the major sources of DIC and key reactions in the coupled C-S cycles. SRR showed a control by season (temperature) and organic matter contents. Bulk organic matter in the surface sediments showed stable carbon isotope data between about -19 and -25 per mil with lighter data found in mixed and mud flats, indicating mixtures between marine and terrestrial organic matter. (Biogenic) methane in hypersulfidic surface sands contained isotope signatures down to -65 per mil. Below reduced sandy surfaces, the isotopic composition of enhanced DIC down to -36 per mil indicate methane as a major source for the oxidized carbon pool. In contrast, DIC was less enriched in the lighter isotope below oxidized surface sands or mixed flats where oxidation of organic matter using oxygen and sulfate as electron acceptors dominated. At Sylt Island the effect of bioturbation and bioirrigation by dwelling organisms (lugworms Arenicola marina) on experimental field sites, was considered, too. In the top 10 cmbsf, highest SRR, DIC concentrations, and lightest C-13 signatures in DIC were observed during summer time with no contribution from CH4.