Climate change and diminishing seasonality in Arctic benthic processes

Type Article
Date 2020-10
Language English
Author(s) Morata Nathalie1, 2, Michaud Emma1, Poullaouec Marie-Aude1, Devesa Jérémy1, Le Goff Manon1, Corvaisier Rudolph1, Renaud Pierre Antoine2, 3
Affiliation(s) 1 : CNRS, Univ Brest, IRD, Ifremer, LEMAR, 29280 Plouzane, France
2 : Akvaplan-niva AS, Fram Centre, PO Box 6606 Langnes, 9296 Tromsø, Norway
3 : University Centre in Svalbard, 9171 Longyearbyen, Norway
Source Philosophical Transactions Of The Royal Society A-mathematical Physical And Engineering Sciences (1364-503X) (The Royal Society), 2020-10 , Vol. 378 , N. 2181 , P. 20190369 (18p.)
DOI 10.1098/rsta.2019.0369
WOS© Times Cited 11
Keyword(s) bioturbation, Kongsfjorden, nutrient fluxes, phytodetritus, respiration, Svalbard

The iconic picture of Arctic marine ecosystems shows an intense pulse of biological productivity around the spring bloom that is sustained while fresh organic matter (OM) is available, after which ecosystem activity declines to basal levels in autumn and winter. We investigated seasonality in benthic biogeochemical cycling at three stations in a high Arctic fjord that has recently lost much of its seasonal ice-cover. Unlike observations from other Arctic locations, we find little seasonality in sediment community respiration and bioturbation rates, although different sediment reworking modes varied through the year. Nutrient fluxes did vary, suggesting that, although OM was processed at similar rates, seasonality in its quality led to spring/summer peaks in inorganic nitrogen and silicate fluxes. These patterns correspond to published information on seasonality in vertical flux at the stations. Largely ice-free Kongsfjorden has a considerable detrital pool in soft sediments which sustain benthic communities over the year. Sources of this include macroalgae and terrestrial runoff. Climate change leading to less ice cover, higher light availability and expanded benthic habitat may lead to more detrital carbon in the system, dampening the quantitative importance of seasonal pulses of phytodetritus to seafloor communities in some areas of the Arctic.

This article is part of the theme issue ‘The changing Arctic Ocean: consequences for biological communities, biogeochemical processes and ecosystem functioning'.

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Morata Nathalie, Michaud Emma, Poullaouec Marie-Aude, Devesa Jérémy, Le Goff Manon, Corvaisier Rudolph, Renaud Pierre Antoine (2020). Climate change and diminishing seasonality in Arctic benthic processes. Philosophical Transactions Of The Royal Society A-mathematical Physical And Engineering Sciences, 378(2181), 20190369 (18p.). Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :