Sediment community oxygen consumption in the deep Gulf of Mexico
Additional Document Info
Sediment community oxygen consumption (SCOC) has been measured from the continental shelf out to the Sigsbee Abyssal Plain in the NE Gulf of Mexico (GoM). SCOC rates on the continental shelf were an order of magnitude higher than those on the adjacent continental slope (450-2750 m depth) and two orders of magnitude higher than those on the abyssal plain at depths of 3.4-3.65 km. Oxygen penetration depth into the sediment was inversely correlated with SCOC measured within incubation chambers, but rates of SCOC calculated from either the gradient of the [O2] profiles or the total oxygen penetration depth were generally lower than those derived from chamber incubations. SCOC rates seaward of the continental shelf were lower than at equivalent depths on most continental margins where similar studies have been conducted, and this is presumed to be related to the relatively low rates of pelagic production in the GoM. The SCOC, however, was considerably higher than the input of organic detritus from the surface-water plankton estimated from surface-water pigment concentrations, suggesting that a significant fraction of the organic matter nourishing the deep GoM biota is imported laterally down slope from the continental margin. 2008 Elsevier Ltd.