Isotopic constraints on oxygen sink partitioning in the Lower St. Lawrence Estuary

Lehmann, M. F. and Barnett, B. and Gélinas, Y. and Gilbert, D. and Maranger, R. and Mucci, A. and Sundby, B. and Thibodeau, B.. (2009) Isotopic constraints on oxygen sink partitioning in the Lower St. Lawrence Estuary. Limnology and Oceanography, 54, 6. pp. 2157-2169.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A5250309

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We measured the concentration and the stable isotope ratios of dissolved oxygen in the water column in the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence to determine the relative importance of pelagic and benthic dissolved oxygen respiration to the development of hypoxic deep waters. The progressive landward decrease of dissolved oxygen in the bottom waters along the axis of the Laurentian Channel (LC) is accompanied by an increase in the 18O:16O ratio, as would be expected from O-isotope fractionation associated with bacterial oxygen respiration. The apparent O-isotope effect, O-app, of 10.8‰ reveals that community O-isotope fractionation is significantly smaller than if bacterial respiration occurred solely in the water column. Our observation can best be explained by a contribution of benthic O2 consumption occurring with a strongly reduced O-isotope effect at the scale of sediment-water exchange (O-sed ~ 7‰). The value for O-sed was estimated from benthic O2 exchange simulations, using a one-dimensional diffusion-reaction O-isotope model. Adopting this O-sed value, and given the observed community O-isotope fractionation, we calculate that approximately two thirds of the ecosystem respiration occurs within the sediment, in reasonable agreement with direct respiration measurements. Based on the difference between dissolved oxygen concentrations in the deep waters of the Lower St. Lawrence Estuary and in the water that enters the Laurentian Channel at Cabot Strait, we estimate an average respiration rate of 5500 mmol O2 m-2 yr-1 for the 100 m-thick layer of bottom water along the Laurentian Channel, 3540 mmol O2 m-2 yr-1 of which is attributed to bacterial benthic respiration.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Geowissenschaften > Aquatic and Isotope Biogeochemistry (Lehmann)
UniBasel Contributors:Lehmann, Moritz F
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:American Society of Limnology and Oceanography
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Last Modified:22 Mar 2012 14:28
Deposited On:22 Mar 2012 14:05

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