Istituto di Scienze Marine     
Giani M., Berto D., Rampazzo F., Savelli F., Alvisi F., Giordano P., Ravaioli M., Frascari F. Origin of sedimentary organic matter in the north-western Adriatic Sea. In: Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science, vol. 84 (4) pp. 573 - 583. Elsevier Ltd, 2009.
In order to evaluate the origin and the transformation of organic matter on the shallow shelf of the NW Adriatic Sea, organic carbon, total nitrogen and stable isotope ratios of organic carbon were analysed in riverine suspended matter and sediments as well as in marine suspended and sedimentary organic matter, in marine phytoplankton and zooplankton. The deposition of organic matter is influenced by fine sediment concentration. Surface sediments were characterised by highly variable biogeochemical conditions on the sea floor, whereas sub-surface sediments showed a more homogeneous hypoxic/anoxic environment. Low Corg/N ratio and high organic carbon and nitrogen concentrations in riverine suspended organic matter indicate an important contribution of freshwater phytoplankton within rivers, particularly during low flow regimes, which adds to the marine phyto- and zooplankton at shelf locations. In order to evaluate the importance of terrestrial, riverine and marine sources of OM in shelf sediments, a three end-member mixing model was applied to shelf surface sediments using 13C/12C values for organic matter and N/C ratios. The model showed an elevated contribution of terrestrial organic substances at intermediate depths (10-15 m), mostly corresponding to an area of coarser grain-size, whereas the riverine and marine organic fractions were mainly accumulating near the coast and offshore, respectively.
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecss.2009.07.031
Subject Shelf-sediments
Organic carbon
Carbon stable isotopes
Adriatic Sea
Po river

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