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Open AccessArticle

Ballasted Flocs Capture Pelagic Primary Production and Alter the Local Sediment Characteristics in the Coastal German Bight (North Sea)

1
Institut für Küstenforschung, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, 21502 Geesthacht, Germany
2
Marine Geologie, Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar-und Meeresforschung, 27570 Bremerhaven, Germany
3
Institut für Geologie, Universität Hamburg, 21073 Hamburg, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Geosciences 2019, 9(8), 344; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9080344
Received: 27 June 2019 / Revised: 23 July 2019 / Accepted: 3 August 2019 / Published: 7 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Biogeosciences)
Suspended, organic matter, especially in the form of adhesive extracellular polymers (EPS), tends to form flocs, which may also incorporate suspended lithogenic particles in coastal environments. With an increased settling velocity, these ballasted flocs form in a narrow zone along the coast and potentially represent a major source of pelagic primary production for the benthic community. We sought support for this hypothesis by examining our measurements of the mud content, porosity, permeability, pigment content, and specific respiration rate of sediment from the German Bight (North Sea) for signs that the pelagic zone of ballasted floc formation is affecting the local sediment characteristics. Based on a simple bottom-shear stress model and by employing empirical correlations of sediment characteristics we were able to find strong indications that this is actually the case. Our results demonstrate how ballasted flocs contribute to the benthic pelagic coupling in a high turbulence environment. View Full-Text
Keywords: particulate suspended matter; ballasted flocs; sediment; benthic pelagic coupling; North Sea particulate suspended matter; ballasted flocs; sediment; benthic pelagic coupling; North Sea
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Neumann, A.; Hass, H.C.; Möbius, J.; Naderipour, C. Ballasted Flocs Capture Pelagic Primary Production and Alter the Local Sediment Characteristics in the Coastal German Bight (North Sea). Geosciences 2019, 9, 344.

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