Sedimentation of chlorophylls in an Arctic fjord under freshwater discharge

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Courtesy of Springer

Sedimentation of chlorophylls was studied during summer 1997 in Adventfjorden (Spitsbergen, Arctic). During the period of study, the water column was found to be well stratified by a freshened surface layer (salinity <31 PSS). A high load of suspended particulate matter from riverine discharge reduced the euphotic zone to an interval of 0.4–1.1m. Total particulate matter sedimentation rates were about twice as high in June as in July. The following chlorophylls were distinguished in the sedimented particles: chl a and its degradation products (allomer chl a, phaeophytin a, phaeophorbide a, chlorophyllide a), chl b and chl c 1+c 2. The quantitatively most important derivative of chl a was phaeophorbide a (31--41% of porphyrin a). Generally, the sedimentation rate of chlorophylls increased with depth. Linear relationships between concentrations of chl a and phaeophorbide a (r 2=0.92), as well as between concentrations of chl a and phaeophytin a (r 2=0.90) indicated a strong connection between phytoplankton abundance and zooplankton grazing. The significant correlation between chl a and chlorophyllide a concentrations (r 2=0.82) showed that most of the sinking chl a belonged primarily to diatoms, and low chlorophyllide a:chl a ratio (0.03) indicated that cellular senescence was not an important reason for the sinking of chl a. Moreover, very low chl b:chl a ratios (about 0.05 calculated for samples where chl b was detectable) suggest that contributions of green algae and/or higher plant detritus were negligible in sinking particles. The ratio of chl c 1+c 2:chl a was 0.85 indicating that chl c-containing algae were dominating.

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