MEPS 554:35-50 (2016)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11780

Benthic primary production and mineralization in a High Arctic fjord: in situ assessments by aquatic eddy covariance

Karl M. Attard1,2,6,*, Kasper Hancke1,2,3, Mikael K. Sejr4, Ronnie N. Glud1,2,4,5

1Nordic Centre for Earth Evolution (NordCEE), University of Southern Denmark, 5230 Odense M, Denmark
2Greenland Climate Research Centre, Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland
3Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
4Arctic Research Centre, Aarhus University, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
5Scottish Association for Marine Sciences, Scottish Marine Institute, PA37 1QA Oban, UK
6Present address: Tvärminne Zoological Station, University of Helsinki, J.A. Palménin tie 260, 10900 Hanko, Finland
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Coastal and shelf systems likely exert major influence on Arctic Ocean functioning, yet key ecosystem processes remain poorly quantified. We employed the aquatic eddy covariance (AEC) oxygen (O2) flux method to estimate benthic primary production and mineralization in a High Arctic Greenland fjord. Seabed gross primary production (GPP) within the 40 m deep photic zone was highest at 10 m (29 mmol O2 m-2 d-1) and decreased to 5 mmol O2 m-2 d-1 at 40 m, while nighttime community respiration (CR) ranged from 11 to 25 mmol O2 m-2 d-1. CR decreased to ~2.5 mmol O2 m-2 d-1 at 80 m and remained constant with further depth. Fauna activity accounted for ~50% of the CR at depths ≤60 m but was <15% at depths ≥80 m. Benthic GPP and CR were comparable when scaled to the outer fjord area ≤40 m depth (2.7 and 3.1 t C d-1), and here the seabed was twice as important as the pelagic compartment for primary production. However, when scaled to the entire outer fjord area of which 80% is >40 m, benthic GPP was 26% of the pelagic production. CR was 2-fold higher than GPP over this region (5.7 t C d-1) and thus net heterotrophic. By scaling AEC-derived Arctic benthic GPP to the entire Arctic Ocean using modelled seabed light data, we estimate an annual Arctic Ocean benthic GPP of 11.5 x 107 t C yr-1. On average, this value represents 26% of the Arctic Ocean annual net phytoplankton production estimates. This scarcely considered component is thus potentially important for contemporary and future Arctic ecosystem functioning.


KEY WORDS: Benthic primary production · Carbon cycling · Arctic · Aquatic eddy covariance · Benthic macrofauna


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Cite this article as: Attard KM, Hancke K, Sejr MK, Glud RN (2016) Benthic primary production and mineralization in a High Arctic fjord: in situ assessments by aquatic eddy covariance. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 554:35-50. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11780

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