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Downward fluxes of elemental carbon, metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in settling particles from the deep Ionian Sea (NESTOR site), Eastern Mediterranean

July 11, 2013

To assess sources and major processes controlling vertical transport of both anthropogenic and natural chemical species in deep basins of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea (SE Ionian Sea, Nestor site), we performed chemical characterization (elemental carbon, major and trace metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) of marine sinking particles. Sediment traps were deployed at five successive depths, 700 m, 1200 m, 2000 m, 3200 m and 4300 m from the sea surface, during the period of May 2007 to October 2008. Fluxes of all measured species exhibited minimum values from January to March 2008 and maximum from April to September 2008, with an evident covariance revealing a common and rapid vertical transport mechanism from 700 m down to 4300 m depth. Crustal matter flux from atmospheric deposition plays an important role in the temporal variability of particulate matter with significant contribution from biogenic constituents namely the seasonal succession in the export of planktonic biomass, expressed by particulate organic carbon (POC), carbonates and biogenic Si fluxes (Stavrakakis et al., 2012). Tracers (elemental carbon, retene) of the devastating forest fires occurred in August 2007 in southern Greece, were detected at sediment trap material in all depths with a delay of 15 days at 4300 m, indicating a rapid and well-coupled transport of sinking particulate material between the sea-surface and deep layers of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Lateral inputs of pollutants at the deepest trap (4300 m) are probably of importance, due to the influence of deep Adriatic water at the study site.

Theodosi C, Parinos C, Gogou A, Kokotos A, Stavrakakis S, Lykousis V, Hatzianestis J, Mihalopoulos N, 2012, Downward fluxes of elemental carbon, metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in settling particles from the deep Ionian Sea (NESTOR site), Eastern Mediterranean, Biogeosciences Discussions, 9, 19165-19197, doi:10.5194/bgd-9-19165-2012 Article.

 
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