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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 162:243-252 (1998)  -  doi:10.3354/meps162243

Seasonal variability in sediment profiles beneath fish farm cages in the Mediterranean

Ioannis Karakassis*, Manolis Tsapakis, Eleni Hatziyanni

Institute of Marine Biology of Crete, PO Box 2214, GR-71003 Heraklion, Crete, Greece

The chemical and physical (water content) changes in sediment profiles beneath and around fish farm cages were investigated on a seasonal basis in Cephalonia Bay, Greece, a relatively enclosed marine area with weak currents and silty substrate. The surface concentrations and the vertical distribution of the sedimentary variables studied (organic matter, organic carbon/nitrogen, chlorophyll, phaeopigments, water content and total phosphorus) varied substantially with distance from the cages and with season. The black-coloured top layer (farm sediment) showed high concentrations of organic matter, phaeopigments and total phosphorus as well as high water content while the compact subsurface layer had concentrations close to (or lower than) those at the control site. The thickness of the farm sediment layer under the cages varied with season, while in all seasons it decreased rapidly with increasing distance from the cages.

Fish farms · Sediment chemistry · Vertical profiles · Mediterranean

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