- Spatial variability in Sediment Oxygen Consumption under winter conditions in a lagoonal system in New Caledonia (South Pacific) doi link

Auteur(s): Grenz C., Denis L, Boucher G, Chauvaud L, Clavier J, Fichez R., Pringault O

(Article) Publié: Journal Of Experimental Marine Biology And Ecology, vol. 285 p.33-47 (2003)

Ref HAL: hal-00745114_v1
DOI: 10.1016/S0022-0981(02)00518-X
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Sediment Oxygen Consumption (SOC) was investigated during a winter (Southern Hemisphere) cruise in the southwest lagoon of New Caledonia. Oxygen fluxes were measured at 11 sampling stations distributed along two coast to reef transects. Three different methods of flux measurements were used: diver-operated benthic chambers, laboratory incubation of sediment cores and oxygen microprofiles determinations. SOC values varied between 450 and 2250 μmol O2 m−2 h−1. The level of agreement between the three techniques strongly varied as a function of sediment type. Most of the SOC values from the grey sand zone in the middle part of the lagoon and the muddy bottoms of the bays did not show significant differences. A central station presenting a dense seagrass bed gave lower SOC determined by oxygen microprofiles compared to the two other methods. In coarse carbonated sands from the back reef area, SOC measured by in situ benthic chambers were higher than SOC measured by incubation techniques. This discrepancy could be explained by physical disturbance of the sediments, macroscale variability in benthic communities or technical efficiency of the sediment sampling device and probably by a combination of all three processes. Nevertheless, for the other sediment types that represented 85% of the lagoon bottoms, the results from the three techniques used for SOC determination were strongly convergent. Based on this assumption, it could be stated that the oxygen fluxes were essentially driven by microbial activity compared to biologically mediated vertical transport of solutes. The SOC values determined during this study were in agreement with budgets previously calculated for the lagoon. Regardless of the back reef area, spatial variability in SOC can be explained by the organic matter content of sediments which clearly showed a coast to reef gradient with higher organic carbon and nitrogen contents in the coastal sediments. The C/N ratios demonstrate the higher rate of freshly deposited organic matter near the coast compared to more central stations in the lagoon.