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Carbon flows in the western Wadden Sea: Model calculations
J.W. Baretta, P. Ruardij

Annual carbon flows are given for the western Wadden Sea. These budgets are calculated with a mathematical ecosystem simulation model. Residual circulation patterns in the system, in combination with high organic carbon and nutrient inputs from Lake IJssel, produce a small (13 - 106 kg) net export of organic carbon to the North Sea, contradicting earlier publications. The relative contributions of the pelagic, the intertidal and the subtidal communities to the total carbon flow through the system are given, indicating phytoplankton production to be by far the largest organic carbon source. Subtidal benthic suspension feeders are responsible for 35% of the total carbon consumption/ mineralization in the subtidal area. Macrobenthos, especially suspension feeders, thus enhance benthic-pelagic coupling by actively transferring large amounts of organic carbon in the water column to the benthic system. Mechanisms which may be important in this respect, such as an inhomogeneous vertical distribution of phytoplankton, are discussed.

Keywords: carbon flows, Wadden Sea, simulation model.
Contents of this volume Sci. Mar. 53(2-3) : 523-529 Back PDF
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