Permeability of intertidal sandflats: Impact of temporal variability on sediment metabolism

E. Zetsche*, M. T. Bulling, U. Witte

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The effects of sediment permeability on sediment oxygen consumption (SOC) in an intertidal permeable sandflat were studied over a 1-year period. Our study demonstrates that temporal variation in sediment metabolism was not only driven by temperature, but also changes in sediment permeability and total carbon content over time. High SOC rates in the summer months (seasonal mean 36.5 mmol m(-2) d(-1)) could be attributed to high temperatures affecting metabolic processes, the rapid turnover of labile organic material and the presence of large amounts of microphytobenthos and their exudates in interstitial pore spaces. The resultant clogging of pores lowered sediment permeabilities and led to the observation of increasing SOC rates at decreasing permeabilities. Despite higher permeabilities, oxygen consumption rates in winter (seasonal mean 17.3 mmol m(-2) d(-1)) were less than half those measured in the summer, reflecting the presence of more persistent refractory material and lower temperatures. During the winter, a major storm event reworked the sediment and significantly changed the permeability, affecting SOC rates. As sediment permeability rose by similar to 25%, SOC rates were increased by similar to 35% in the month after the event compared to the previous month. Our results show that temporal variation, not only in temperature and carbon content, but also in sediment permeability, affects sediment metabolism and that resuspension and storm events are necessary to unclog systems and maintain high remineralisation rates in organically poor permeable sands. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-50
Number of pages10
JournalContinental Shelf Research
Volume42
Early online date7 May 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2012

Keywords

  • Tidal flat
  • Sand
  • Sediment permeability
  • Sediment oxygen consumption
  • Clogging
  • Scotland
  • PORE-WATER EXCHANGE
  • SOUTHERN BALTIC SEA
  • NORTH-SEA
  • MINERALIZATION RATES
  • ADVECTIVE TRANSPORT
  • COASTAL SEDIMENT
  • MARINE-SEDIMENTS
  • SOLUTE EXCHANGE
  • GRAIN-SIZE
  • WADDEN SEA

Cite this