Organic biogeochemistry of the Darwin Mounds, a deep-water coral ecosystem, of the NE Atlantic

Kiriakoulakis, K.; Bett, B.J. ORCID:; White, M.; Wolff, G.A.. 2004 Organic biogeochemistry of the Darwin Mounds, a deep-water coral ecosystem, of the NE Atlantic. Deep-Sea Research I, 51 (12). 1937-1954.

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The Darwin Mounds are a series of small (5 m high, 75–100 m diameter) sandy features located in the northern Rockall Trough. They provide a habitat for communities of Lophelia pertusa and associated fauna. Suspended particulate organic matter (sPOM) reaching the deep-sea floor, which could potentially fuel this deep-water coral (DWC) ecosystem, was collected during summer 2000. This was relatively “fresh” (i.e. dominated by labile lipids such as polyunsaturated fatty acids) and was derived largely from phytoplankton remains and faecal pellets, with contributions from bacteria and microzooplankton. Labile sPOM components were enriched in the benthic boundary layer (10 m above bottom (mab)) relative to 150 mab. The action of certain benthic fauna that are exclusively associated with the DWC ecosystem (e.g. echiuran worms) leads to the subduction of fresh organic material into the sediments. The mound surface sediments are enriched in organic carbon, relative to off-mound sites. There is no evidence for hydrocarbon venting at this location.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Additional Keywords: Rockall Trough, Darwin Mounds, Lophelia pertusa, deep-water corals, suspended particulate organic matter, lipids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, sediments, bioturbation
Date made live: 17 Mar 2005 +0 (UTC)

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