A huge biocatalytic filter in the centre of Barents Sea shelf?
Treść / Zawartość
A primary production model for the Barents Sea shows a hot spot of organic carbon settlement to the sea bed over 100 km long, a shallow pile of highly permeable sediments (mainly large Balanus, Mya and Pecten shell fragments over 1 cm in size) of glacial origin. Hydrodynamic flow models suggest an intensive, deep flow of near-bottom waters into the sediment. Depending on wave height, water in shallow (30 m depth) places may percolate more than 5 m into the sediment. During 10 days of stormy weather as much as 4 to 8 kg wet weight pelagic biomass can be processed per square metre through this extremely permeable sediment. Analogous processes known in coastal waters lead to intense biocatalytic phenomena and metabolism of organic carbon within the seabed, estimated here as more intense than surface consumption. Spitsbergenbanken may be acting as a huge sink for organic carbon and an important source of nutrients in one of the most productive areas of the North Atlantic.