Letter | Published:

Seasonal sedimentation of phytoplankton to the deep-sea benthos

Naturevolume 302pages520522 (1983) | Download Citation

Subjects

Abstract

Until recently the deep sea was considered to be a particularly stable environment1, free from seasonal variations. However, atmospheric storms may cause periodicity in deep-ocean currents2 and nepheloid layers3 while seasonality in the particulate flux to the deep sea is known to occur in the Sargasso Sea4,5 and Panama Basin6. Evidence is presented here of a similar seasonal pulse of detrital material to bathyal and abyssal depths in temperate latitudes; this material seems to be derived directly from the surface primary production and to sink rapidly to the deep-sea benthos. Considerable sedimentation occurs soon after the spring bloom and continues throughout the early summer. This process acts as a pathway for the descent of carbon from the euphotic zone, providing a periodic food source for the deep pelagic and benthic communities.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1

    Sanders, H. L. Am. Nat. 102, 243–282 (1968).

  2. 2

    Dickson, R. R., Gould, W. J., Garbutt, P. A. & Killworth, P. D. Nature 295, 193–198 (1982).

  3. 3

    Gardner, W. D. & Sullivan, L. G. Science 213, 329–331 (1981).

  4. 4

    Deuser, W. G. & Ross, E. H. Nature 283, 364–365 (1980).

  5. 5

    Deuser, W. G., Ross, E. H. & Anderson, R. F. Deep-Sea Res. 28, 495–505 (1981).

  6. 6

    Honjo, S. Science 218, 883–884 (1982).

  7. 7

    Aldred, R. G., Thurston, M. H., Rice, A. L. & Morley, D. R. Deep-Sea Res. 23, 167–174 (1976).

  8. 8

    Rice, A. L., Aldred, R. G., Billett, D. S. M. & Thurston, M. H. Ambio Spec. Rep. 6, 59–72 (1979).

  9. 9

    Rice, A. L., Aldred, R. G., Darlington, E. & Wild, R. A. Oceanologica Acta 5, 63–72 (1982).

  10. 10

    Lampitt, R. S. & Burnham, M. P. Deep-Sea Res. (in the press).

  11. 11

    McIntyre, A. D. & Warwick, R. M. in Methods for the Study of Marine Benthos 2nd edn (eds Holme, N. A. & McIntyre, A. D.) Ch. 7 (Blackwell, Oxford, in the press).

  12. 12

    Mantoura, R. F. C. & Llewellyn, C. Analytica chim. acta (submitted).

  13. 13

    Liaaen-Jensen, S. in Marine Natural Products Chemistry (eds Faulkner, D. J. & Fenical, W. H.) 239–254 (Plenum, New York, 1977).

  14. 14

    Parsons, T. R., Takahashi, M. & Hargrave, B. Biological Oceanographic Processes 2nd edn (Pergamon, New York, 1977).

  15. 15

    Lisitsyn, A. P., Belyayev, Yu. I., Bogdanov, Yu. A. & Bogoyavlenskiy, A. N. Int. Geol. Rev. 9, 253–274 (1967).

  16. 16

    Smith, K. L. Mar. Biol. 47, 337–347 (1978).

  17. 17

    Khripounoff, A. & Sibuet, M. Mar. Biol. 60, 17–26 (1980).

  18. 18

    Rowe, G. T. & Gardner, W. D. J. mar. Res. 37, 581–600 (1979).

  19. 19

    Honjo, S. J. mar. Res. 38, 53–97 (1980).

  20. 20

    Hinga, K. R., Sieburth, J. M. & Heath, G. R. J. mar. Res. 37, 557–579 (1979).

  21. 21

    Knauer, G. A., Martin, J. H. & Bruland, K. W. Deep-Sea Res. 26, 97–108 (1979).

  22. 22

    Smayda, T. J. Oceanogr. mar. Biol. 8, 353–414 (1970).

  23. 23

    Bedungen, B. Von, Bröckel, K. Von, Smetacek, V. & Zeitzschel, B. Kieler Meeresforsch. 5, 49–60 (1981).

  24. 24

    Smetacek, V. in Flux of Energy and Materials in Marine Ecosystems: Theory and Practice (ed. Fasham, M. J. R.), (Plenum, New York, in the press).

  25. 25

    Smetacek, V. Ophelia Suppl. 1, 65–76 (1980).

  26. 26

    Graf, G., Bengtsson, W., Diesner, U., Schulz, R. & Theede, H. Mar. Biol. 67, 201–208 (1982).

  27. 27

    Tyler, P. A., Grant, A., Pain, S. L. & Gage, J. D. Nature 300, 747–750 (1982).

  28. 28

    Billett, D. S. M. & Hansen, B. Deep-Sea Res. 29, 799–818 (1982).

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Institute of Oceanographic Sciences, Wormley, Godalming, Surrey, GU8 5UB, UK

    • D. S. M. Billett
    • , R. S. Lampitt
    •  & A. L. Rice
  2. Institute for Marine Environmental Research, Prospect Place, The Hoe, Plymouth, Devon, PL1 3DH, UK

    • R. F. C. Mantoura

Authors

  1. Search for D. S. M. Billett in:

  2. Search for R. S. Lampitt in:

  3. Search for A. L. Rice in:

  4. Search for R. F. C. Mantoura in:

About this article

Publication history

Received

Accepted

Issue Date

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/302520a0

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.