Glacier inputs influence organic matter composition and prokaryotic distribution in a high Arctic fjord (Kongsfjorden, Svalbard)

Solveig Bourgeois, Philippe Kerhervé, Maria de Lluch Calleja Cortes, Gaël Many, Nathalie Morata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

With climate change, the strong seasonality and tight pelagic-benthic coupling in the Arctic is expected to change in the next few decades. It is currently unclear how the benthos will be affected by changes of environmental conditions such as supplies of organic matter (OM) from the water column. In the last decade, Kongsfjorden (79°N), a high Arctic fjord in Svalbard influenced by several glaciers and Atlantic water inflow, has been a site of great interest owing to its high sensitivity to climate change, evidenced by a reduction in ice cover and an increase in melting freshwater. To investigate how spatial and seasonal changes in vertical fluxes can impact the benthic compartment of Kongsfjorden, we studied the organic matter characteristics (in terms of quantity and quality) and prokaryotic distribution in sediments from 3 stations along a transect extending from the glacier into the outer fjord in 4 different seasons (spring, summer, autumn and winter) in 2012–2013. The biochemical parameters used to describe the sedimentary organic matter were organic carbon (OC), total nitrogen, bulk stable isotope ratios, pigments (chorophyll-a and phaeopigments) and biopolymeric carbon (BPC), which is the sum of the main macromolecules, i.e. lipids, proteins and carbohydrates. Prokaryotic abundance and distribution were estimated by 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) staining. This study identifies a well-marked quantitative gradient of biogenic compounds throughout all seasons and also highlights a discrepancy between the quantity and quality of sedimentary organic matter within the fjord. The sediments near the glacier were organic-poor (
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-127
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Marine Systems
Volume164
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 23 2016

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