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Benthic photosynthesis and oxygen consumption in permeable carbonate sediments at Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

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Rasheed,  M.
Flux Group, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Wild,  C.
HGF MPG Joint Research Group for Deep Sea Ecology & Technology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Franke,  U.
Permanent Research Group Microsensor, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Huettel,  M.
Flux Group, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Rasheed, M., Wild, C., Franke, U., & Huettel, M. (2004). Benthic photosynthesis and oxygen consumption in permeable carbonate sediments at Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 59(1), 139-150.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-D17D-7
Abstract
In order to investigate benthic photosynthesis and oxygen demand in permeable carbonate sands and the impact of benthic boundary layer flow on sedimentary oxygen consumption, in situ and laboratory chamber experiments were carried out at Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Total photosynthesis, net primary production and respiration were estimated to be 162.9±43.4, 98.0±40.7, and 64.9±15.0 mmol C m−2 d−1, respectively. DIN and DIP fluxes for these sands reached 0.34 and 0.06 mmol m−2 d−1, respectively. Advective pore water exchange had a strong impact on oxygen consumption in the permeable sands. Consumption rates in the chamber with larger pressure gradient (20 rpm, 1.2 Pa between centre and rim) simulating a friction velocity of 0.6 cm s−1 were approximately two-fold higher than in the chambers with slow stirring (10 rpm, 0.2 Pa between centre and rim, friction velocity of 0.3 cm s−1). In the laboratory chamber experiments with stagnant water column, oxygen consumption was eight times lower than in the chamber with fast stirring. Laboratory chamber experiments with Br− tracer revealed solute exchange rates of 2.6, 2.2, 0.7 ml cm−2 d−1 at stirring rates of 20, 10, and 0 rpm, respectively. In a laboratory experiment investigating the effect of sediment permeability on oxygen and DIC fluxes, a three-fold higher permeability resulted in two- to three-fold higher oxygen consumption and DIC release rates. These experiments demonstrate the importance of boundary flow induced flushing of the upper layer of permeable carbonate sediment on oxygen uptake in the coral sands. The high filtration and oxidation rates in the sub-tropical permeable carbonate sediments and the subsequent release of nutrients and DIC reveal the importance of these sands for the recycling of matter in this oligotrophic environment.