Scientia Marina, Vol 63, No S1 (1999)

Particle flux in an Antarctic shallow coastal environment: a sediment trap study

Irene R. Schloss
Instituto Antártico Argentino, Argentina

Gustavo A. Ferreyra
Instituto Antártico Argentino, Argentina

Guillermo Mercuri
Instituto Antártico Argentino, Argentina

Jens Kowalke
Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Germany


Sediment trap arrays were deployed at Potter Cove, King George Island, Antarctica, between December 1991 and August 1992 and in the summer seasons of 1993-1994, and 1995. The sampling sites reached 30 m depth, and traps were placed during the different seasons at various distances from the sea bottom (0.1 to 25 m), some being buried in the sediments. Daily sedimentation rates of total particulate matter (TPM) and chlorophyll-a were estimated. Water column temperature and salinity as well as pigment and TPM concentration were also measured and related to traps´ results. Water column data evidenced processes in relation with phytoplankton dynamics, stormy events and particles containing fresh water runoff. Similar trends were observed in the traps located at 25 m, 1 m and sometimes even in those located to around 0.1 m from sea bottom, although traps buried in the sediments mainly reflected resuspension events. Chlorophyll a fluxes were higher in the bottom traps, but the sedimented organic fraction of the TPM (particulate organic matter, POM) was higher in the traps located remotely from the bottom, being significantly lower in the buried traps (i.e. POM represented 50% of TPM at 1 m and 9% POM in the buried trap on November 23 in 1993, although a great variability among sampling dates was also observed). The significance of these dynamics for the food availability for the macrozoobenthic organisms present in the area is discussed.


Antarctica; organic and inorganic particles; shallow coastal environments; sediment traps; benthic communities

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Copyright (c) 1999 Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)

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