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Biogeochemical measurements associated to deep-sea wood falls

Authors: Bienhold, Christina; Pop Ristova, Petra; Wenzhöfer, Frank; Dittmar, Thorsten; Boetius, Antje;

Biogeochemical measurements associated to deep-sea wood falls

Abstract

Large organic food falls to the deep sea - such as whale carcasses and wood logs - support the development of reduced, sulfidic niches in an otherwise oxygenated, oligotrophic deep-sea environment. These transient hot spot ecosystems may serve the dispersal of highly adapted chemosynthetic organisms such as thiotrophic bivalves and siboglinid worms. Here we investigated the biogeochemical and microbiological processes leading to the development of sulfidic niches. Wood colonization experiments were carried out for the duration of one year in the vicinity of a cold seep area in the Nile deep-sea fan (Eastern Mediterranean) at depths of 1690 m. Wood logs were deployed in 2006 during the BIONIL cruise (RV Meteor M70/2 with ROV Quest, Marum, Germany) and sampled in 2007 during the Medeco-2 cruise (RV Pourquoi Pas? with ROV Victor 6000, Ifremer, France). Wood-boring bivalves played a key role in the initial degradation of the wood, the dispersal of wood chips and fecal matter around the wood log, and the provision of colonization surfaces to other organisms. Total oxygen uptake measured with a ROV-operated benthic chamber module was higher at the wood (0.5 m away) in contrast to 10 m away at a reference site (25 mmol m-2 d-1 and 1 mmol m-2 d-1, respectively), indicating an increased activity of sedimentary communities around the wood falls. Bacterial cell numbers associated with wood increased substantially from freshly submerged wood to the wood chip/fecal matter layer next to the wood experiments, as determined with Acridine Orange Direct Counts (AODC) and DAPI-stained counts. Microsensor measurements of sulfide, oxygen and pH were conducted ex situ. Sulfide fluxes were higher at the wood experiments when compared to reference measurements (19 and 32 mmol m-2 d-1 vs. 0 and 16 mmol -2 d-1, respectively). Sulfate reduction (SR) rates at the wood experiments were determined in ex situ incubations (1.3 and 2.0 mmol m-2 d-1) and fell into the lower range of SR rates previously observed from other chemosynthetic habitats at cold seeps. There was no influence of wood deposition on phosphate, silicate and nitrate concentrations, but ammonium concentrations were elevated at the wood chip-sediment boundary layer. Concentrations of dissolved organic carbon were much higher at the wood experiments (wood chip-sediment boundary layer) in comparison to measurements at the reference sites, which may indicate that cellulose degradation was highest under anoxic conditions and hence enabled by anaerobic benthic bacteria, e.g. fermenters and sulfate reducers. Our observations demonstrate that, after one year, the presence of wood at the seafloor had led to the creation of sulfidic niches, comparable to what has been observed at whale falls, albeit at lower rates. Supplement to: Bienhold, Christina; Pop Ristova, Petra; Wenzhöfer, Frank; Dittmar, Thorsten; Boetius, Antje (2013): How deep-sea wood falls sustain chemosynthetic life. PLoS ONE, 8(1), e53590

Keywords

Earth System Research, Hotspot Ecosystem Research on the Margins of European Seas HERMES, Monitoring colonisation processes in chemosynthetic ecosystems CHEMECO, Hotspot Ecosystem Research and Mans Impact On European Seas HERMIONE

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    This is an alternative to the "Influence" indicator, which also reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
    0
    popularity
    This indicator reflects the "current" impact/attention (the "hype") of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network.
    Average
    influence
    This indicator reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
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    impulse
    This indicator reflects the initial momentum of an article directly after its publication, based on the underlying citation network.
    Average
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citations
This is an alternative to the "Influence" indicator, which also reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
BIP!Citations provided by BIP!
popularity
This indicator reflects the "current" impact/attention (the "hype") of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network.
BIP!Popularity provided by BIP!
influence
This indicator reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
BIP!Influence provided by BIP!
impulse
This indicator reflects the initial momentum of an article directly after its publication, based on the underlying citation network.
BIP!Impulse provided by BIP!
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Average
Average
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Sustainable Development Solutions Network - Greece