Trophic pathways and carbon flux patterns in the Laptev Sea.

Schmid, Michael K., Piepenburg, Dieter, Golikov, Alexander A., Juterzenka, Karen von, Petryashov, Victor V. and Spindler, Michael (2006) Trophic pathways and carbon flux patterns in the Laptev Sea. Progress in Oceanography, 71 (2-4). pp. 314-330. DOI 10.1016/j.pocean.2006.09.002.

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The Laptev Sea is a high-Arctic epicontinental sea north of Siberia (Russia) that is one of the least understood regions of the world’s ocean. It is characterized by a shallow and broad shelf plateau, high influx of river water, sediments and nutrients during summer, long-lasting sea-ice cover from October to May, and the formation of a narrow flaw-lead polynya off the fast-ice edge during winter.
Here, we describe results of a German–Russian research project (1993-present), presenting the distribution patterns and dynamics of its marine flora and fauna, as well as pathways and processes of coupling between sea-ice, water-column and sea-floor biota.

Three ecological zones are distinguished along a combined east–west and Lena-impact gradient, differing in the composition of pelagic and benthic communities. In general, high Chl a concentrations in the sediments indicate a tight coupling between sympagic and pelagic primary production and nutrient supply to the benthos throughout the entire Laptev Sea. However, there were pronounced regional differences between the ecological zones in magnitude of primary production and trophic dynamics. Primary production during the ice-free summer was highest in the estuarine zone most strongly influenced by the Lena River (210 mg C m−2 day−1). The western and northeastern Laptev Sea yielded 55 and 95 mg C m−2 day−1, respectively. Moreover, the zones differed in the partitioning of carbon flux between zooplankton and benthic food webs. In the Lena zone zooplankton carbon demand was about 31 mg C m−2 day−1 whereas in the western zone it was 21 mg C m−2 day−1 and in the eastern zone 4 mg C m−2 day−1. Total benthic carbon demand was 32 mg C m−2 day−1 for the Lena zone, 56 mg C m−2 day−1 in the western zone and 100 mg C m−2 day−1 in the northeastern zone.
A carbon budget constructed for the Laptev Sea indicates that (1) a high proportion of primary production is channelled through the benthic trophic web, bypassing the pelagic trophic web, and (2) autochthonous primary production in the northeastern and western Laptev Sea might not be sufficient to fuel both pelagic and benthic secondary production and, hence, input of allochthonous organic carbon is required to balance the overall carbon demand.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Cryo–pelago–benthic coupling; Production; Carbon flux; Climate change; Benthos; Zooplankton; Phytoplankton
Research affiliation: Kiel University
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
Publisher: Elsevier
Projects: Laptev Sea System
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2014 13:24
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2014 13:24

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