Istituto di Scienze Marine     
Pasqual C., Lee C., Goni M., Tesi T., Sanchez-Vidal A., Calafat A., Canals M., Heussner S. Use of organic biomarkers to trace the transport of marine and terrigenous organic matter through the southwestern canyons of the Gulf of Lion. In: Marine Chemistry, vol. 126 (1-4) pp. 1 - 12. ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV, PO BOX 211, 1000 AE AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS, 2011.
From October 2005 through October 2006 sediment traps were moored along the Lacaze-Duthiers and Cap de Creus submarine canyons and on the adjacent southern open slope in the Gulf of Lion (Northwestern Mediterranean). During the Winter 2006 (January-March), an intense Dense Shelf Water Cascading (DSWC) event was found to be a major driver of particle transport, increasing lateral advection of material at all stations. In this study, we assessed the sources and degradation of organic matter (OM) advected along canyons during both DSWC and quiescent conditions using specific organic biomarkers, including pigments, lignin phenols and amino acids. Three major events of fresh, marine OM inputs were detected during the study period. The largest one was in spring (March-May), with smaller events also observed in winter (December 2005) and summer (August 2006), suggesting that both spring blooms and sporadic blooms associated with wind-driven mixing affects carbon fluxes in this system. The DSWC event that partially overlapped the spring-bloom enhanced the overall transfer of OM down canyons. The lignin phenol data show no significant, along-canyon dilution and are consistent with constant advection of terrigenous material. In contrast, amino acid and chloropigment compositions indicate that part of the OM is degraded both prior to reaching the canyons and within the canyons themselves. Overall, our results illustrate the importance of both seasonal and sporadic pelagic and continental shelf/lateral events in controlling the exchange of organic matter across this margin. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
DOI: 10.1016/j.marchem.2011.03.001
Subject Particulate organic matter
Submarine canyons
Primary production
Western Mediterranean
Gulf of Lion

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