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Journal Article

Oxygen transport across the benthic boundary layer: from a 1-D to a 3-D view


Jørgensen,  Bo Barker
Department of Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Jørgensen, B. B. (2001). Oxygen transport across the benthic boundary layer: from a 1-D to a 3-D view. ASLO Bulletin, 10(2), 21-25.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0003-FD42-6
The sediment-water interface is a fascinating environment.Bordering the dynamic processes between hydrosphere andgeosphere, it is the gate-keeper for the benthic-pelagiccoupling of carbon and nutrient cycles in aquatic ecosystems.In this region boundary layer hydrodynamics interact withtransport processes across the interface, organic matterdeposited on the sediment surface supports and focuses thebiological activity to a thin veneer teeming with life, and steepchemical gradients provide diverse zones for biological andgeochemical processes.Just as the earth surface appears flat when viewed fromorbit, the sediment surface appears flat when we read mostbiogeochemical literature which describes it with only avertical axis. However, many aspects of sediment biology andgeochemistry require a three-dimensional view to understandtheir essential properties. We need novel approaches withgreater information capacity to study the spatial structures ofbiota, environments, and processes. To stimulate thedevelopment of such approaches, this short review will discuss some of the small-scale characteristics of the benthic boundarylayer, and illustrates the 3-D world of the sea floor based onrecent progress in analytical and experimental techniques. Thefew examples used are taken mostly from the work of our owngroup since brevity forces us to neglect the excellent work ofmany colleagues.