Spring-to-summer changes and regional variability of benthic processes in the western Canadian Arctic


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hlink [ at ] ecology.uni-kiel.de

Abstract

Seasonal dynamics in the activity of Arctic shelf benthos have been the subject of few local studies, and the pronounced among-site variability characterizing their results makes it difficult to upscale and generalize their conclusions. In a regional study encompassing five sites at 100–595 m water depth in the southeastern Beau- fort Sea, we found that total pigment concentrations in surficial sediments, used as proxies of general food supply to the benthos, rose significantly after the transition from ice-covered conditions in spring (March–June 2008) to open-water conditions in summer (June–August 2008), whereas sediment Chl a concentrations, typical markers of fresh food input, did not. Macrobenthic biomass (including agglutinated foraminifera [500 lm) varied significantly among sites (1.2–6.4 g C m-2 in spring, 1.1–12.6 g C m-2 in summer), whereas a general spring-to-summer increase was not detected. Benthic carbon remineralisation also ranged significantly among sites (11.9–33.2 mg C m-2 day-1 in spring, 11.6–44.4 mg C m-2 day-1 in summer) and did in addition exhibit a general significant increase from spring-to-summer. Multiple regression analysis suggests that in both spring and summer, sediment Chl a concentration is the prime determinant of benthic carbon remineralisation, but other factors have a significant secondary influence, such as foraminiferan biomass (negative in both seasons), water depth (in spring) and infaunal biomass (in summer). Our findings indicate the importance of the combined and dynamic effects of food supply and benthic community patterns on the carbon remineralisation of the polar shelf benthos in seasonally ice-covered seas.



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ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
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Eprint ID
35205
DOI 10.1007/s00300-011-1046-6

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Link, H. , Archambault, P. , Tamelander, T. , Renaud, P. E. and Piepenburg, D. (2011): Spring-to-summer changes and regional variability of benthic processes in the western Canadian Arctic , Polar Biology, 34 (12), pp. 2025-2038 . doi: 10.1007/s00300-011-1046-6


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