Marine Science Faculty Publications

The Remineralization of Sedimentary Organic Carbon in Different Sedimentary Regimes of the Yellow and East China Seas

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Marginal seas, Sedimentary regimes, Pore waters, Sedimentary organic carbon, Remineralization, Yellow and East China Seas

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We investigated the remineralization of sedimentary organic carbon (SOC) at 12 sites in East China Sea mobile-muds (ECSMMs) and South Yellow Sea central mud deposits (SYSMDs) - using a time-sequence sediment incubation experiment. We examined pore-water dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), dissolved organic carbon (DOC), fluorescent dissolved organic matter (FDOM), dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) nutrients (NH4+, NO3, and NO2), redox sensitive elements (Fe2+ and Mn2+), and major anions (SO42− and Cl) in incubated sediments, to better constrain controlling mechanisms of SOC remineralization under different sedimentary regimes. Lower DIC production rates in SYSMDs (2.36–3.13 mmol m−2 d−1) than those in ECSMMs (2.94–13.5 mmol m−2 d−1), were mainly attributed to cold bottom water masses and a relatively stable sedimentary environment in SYS. Higher DIC production rates were observed mostly at offshore sites of ECSMMs that had relatively enriched 13C of SOC - which indicated preferential degradation of labile SOC of marine origin. When compared with tropical mobile-muds, higher bottom-water temperatures, thicker mobile-muds, and large inputs of reactive terrestrial OC resulted in more intense remineralization of SOC in Amazon mobile-muds than in ECSMMs. Lower ratios of DOC/DIC production rates in ECSMMs (0.11–0.72) were likely indicative of efficient transformation of OC, and largely due to sulfate reduction. A rapid increase in marine protein-like FDOM components during the incubation indicated that less stable marine SOC was preferentially converted to DOC - and then to DIC. Our SOC budget indicates that 16.8% of SOC was decomposed in sediments of ECSMMs, but only about 5.4% of SOC was decomposed in SYSMDs, suggesting lower SOC preservation efficiency in mobile-muds than distal muds.

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Chemical Geology, v. 495, p. 104-117