The total benthic standing stock in terms of organic carbon (macrofauna, meiofauna, and bacteria) on the continental margin south of New England provides little evidence that substantial organic matter escapes from the continental shelf to the upper continental slope. Measurements of the metabolism of the total benthos allowed calculation of turnover times for both the organic detritus and the total biota. The turnover time of detritus increased as grain size decreased, suggesting that fine-grained deposits contain mostly refractory, non-reactive organic compounds, especially on the deep continental slope. Turnover times of the total biota were about the same in the coarse and fine-grained shelf deposits, but a far larger fraction of the turnover was attributed to the bacteria in the fine sediments on the shallow shelf than in the coarse. On average, about 25% of the primary production appeared to be utilized by the benthos on the continental shelf in the SEEP area.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Aquatic Science