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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 346:45-59 (2007)  -  DOI:

Coupling of carbon, nitrogen and oxygen cycles in sediments from a Mediterranean lagoon: a seasonal perspective

K. Dedieu1, C. Rabouille1,*, F. Gilbert2, K. Soetaert3, E. Metzger4, C. Simonucci4, D. Jézéquel4, F. Prévot4, P. Anschutz5, S. Hulth6, S. Ogier7, V. Mesnage7

1Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, UMR CEA-CNRS, domaine du CNRS, av. de la Terrasse, 91198 Gif sur Yvette, France
2Laboratoire de Microbiologie, Géochimie et Ecologie Marines (COM), UMR CNRS 6117, Université de la Méditerranée, Campus de Luminy, 13288 Marseille Cedex 9, France
3Netherlands Institute of Ecology, POB140, 4400 NT Yerseke, The Netherlands
4Equipe de Géochimie des Eaux, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, Université Paris 7, 75251 Paris Cedex 05, France
5Université Bordeaux 1, UMR CNRS 5805 EPOC, av. des Facultés, 33405 Talence, France
6Department of Chemistry, Göteborg University, 41296 Göteborg, Sweden
7UMR CNRS 6143 ‘M2C’, Université de Rouen, 76821 Mont-St-Aignan, France
*-Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: Experimental data and simulations were used to investigate the seasonal coupling between carbon, nitrogen and oxygen cycles in marine sediments from a eutrophic shallow lagoon in the Mediterranean Sea area. A negative seasonal correlation was observed between oxygen consumption and coupled nitrification–denitrification rates in surface sediments. Elevated values of oxygen consumption rates were reached during warm periods (up to 87.7 mmol m–2 d–1) whereas nitrification and denitrification rates remained close to the lowest rates reported for coastal sediments (values around 0.021 to 0.35 mmol N m–2 d–1 for nitrification and 0.014 to 0.045 mmol N m–2 d–1 for denitrification). A steady-state diagenetic model closely represented the seasonal negative correlation of oxygen uptake, coupled nitrification–denitrification rates, the vertical distribution patterns of pore water oxygen and the solid phase distribution of organic carbon when nitrification inhibition by sulfide was included. Simulation adjusted to field data also highlighted the importance of oxygen penetration depth in the seasonal variation of nitrification. The modelling indicated that anaerobic metabolism was the most significant pathway (65 to 80%) during organic matter mineralization with a clear seasonal increase during warm periods. These warm periods were also characterized by the higher benthic demand of oxygen mostly used to re-oxidize the by-products from anaerobic reactions (from 57 to 82%), the other part being used for carbon mineralization.

KEY WORDS: Nitrogen dynamics · Carbon · Oxygen · Coastal sediment · Diagenesis modelization

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Cite this article as: Dedieu K, Rabouille C, Gilbert F, Soetaert K and others (2007) Coupling of carbon, nitrogen and oxygen cycles in sediments from a Mediterranean lagoon: a seasonal perspective. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 346:45-59.

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