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Origin and Fate of Organic Biomarker Compounds in the Water Column and Sediments of the Eastern North Atlantic [and Discussion]

Maureen H. Conte, Geoffrey Eglinton, Luiz A. S. Madureira, C. Rabouille, L. Labeyrie and S. Mudge
Philosophical Transactions: Biological Sciences
Vol. 348, No. 1324, The Role of the North Atlantic in the Global Carbon Cycle (May 30, 1995), pp. 169-178
Published by: Royal Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/56036
Page Count: 10
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Origin and Fate of Organic Biomarker Compounds in the Water Column and Sediments of the Eastern North Atlantic [and Discussion]
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Abstract

This paper focuses upon lipid biomarkers as tracers of the biological carbon cycle and our efforts to derive and validate `molecular tools' for oceanography and palaeoceanography as part of the 1989-1991 UK-JGOFS Biogeochemical Ocean Flux Study (BOFS). Biomarker concentrations and composition in water column particulates and bottom sediments in the North Atlantic show a strong correspondence to seasonal and interannual patterns of productivity. Biomarkers document the rapidity with which vertical flux processes operate in the high latitude North Atlantic: for example, the massive sedimentation of phytodetritus following a coccolithophorid bloom in the Iceland Basin and its subsequent resuspension, and the benthic biological response to this pulse of biologically available carbon. Sedimentary biomarker distributions indicate that organic material decomposition in sediments is dominated by processes at or near the sediment water interface and that downmixing of labile material into the sediments is largely controlled by advective rather than diffusive-like processes.

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