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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 261:75-83 (2003)  -  doi:10.3354/meps261075

Oxygen uptake by aquatic sediments measured with a novel non-invasive eddy-correlation technique

Peter Berg1,*, Hans Røy2, Felix Janssen2, Volker Meyer2, Bo Barker Jørgensen2, Markus Huettel2,3, Dirk de Beer2

1Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia, 291 McCormick Road, Charlottesville, Virginia 22904-4123, USA
2Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Celsiusstrasse 1, 28359 Bremen, Germany
3Present address: Department of Oceanography, Florida State University, 0517OSB, West Call Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32306-4320, USA

ABSTRACT: This paper presents a new non-invasive technique for measuring sediment O2 uptake that, in its concept, differs fundamentally from other methods used to date. In almost all natural aquatic environments, the vertical transport of O2 through the water column toward the sediment surface is facilitated by turbulent motion. The new technique relies on measuring 2 parameters simultaneously and at the same point in the water above the sediment: the fluctuating vertical velocity using an acoustic Doppler velocimeter and the fluctuating O2 concentration using an O2 microelectrode. From these 2 parameters, which typically are measured 10 to 50 cm above the sediment surface for a period of 10 to 20 min and at a frequency of 15 to 25 Hz, the vertical flux of O2 toward the sediment surface is derived. Based on measurements performed under actual field conditions and comparisons with in situ flux-chamber measurements, we believe that this new technique is the optimal approach for determining O2 uptake by sediments. The technique is superior to conventional methods as measurements are done under true in situ conditions, i.e. without any disturbance of the sediment and under the natural hydrodynamic conditions. Furthermore, this technique can be used for bio-irrigated or highly permeable sediments, such as sands, where traditional methods often fail. While this paper only focuses on O2 uptake by sediments, the technique can also be applied to other solutes that can be measured at a sufficiently high temporal resolution.

KEY WORDS: Oxygen uptake · Sediment · Eddy-correlation measurements

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