Spatial variations in nutrient utilization, production and diagenesis in the sediments of a coastal upwelling regime (NW Africa): Implications for the paleoceanographic record

P Martinez, P Bertrand, S E Calvert, T F Pedersen, Graham B Shimmield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A biogeochemical study of recent (multicores) sediments of the northwest African slope was undertaken to understand how the sediment composition varies with respect to the location of core sites relative to the centers of coastal upwelling, and how this has affected the palaeoceanographic record. Sedimentary organic carbon contents are inversely correlated with the nitrogen isotopic composition (delta N-15), high C-organic concentrations and low delta N-15 occurring at proximal (shallow) sites and the opposite at distal (deep) ones. These spatial differences are interpreted to result from higher relative nutrient utilization and a decrease in production as waters are advected offshore from the zone of upwelling. Highest C-organic contents also correlate positively with highest concentrations of redox-sensitive elements (U, Mo and S) that are fixed diagenetically in the sediments. These results suggest that the sedimentary regime at a fixed position depends on the spatial location of the productive areas relatively to a given core site. Downcore records of Zr/Al, Ti/Al, mean grain size of the terrigenous fraction, delta N-15, C-organic biogenic Ba, U, Mo and sulfur at a single site on the slope are interpreted to reflect glacial-interglacial changes in the core location relative to the coastline (sea-level effect), and hence changes in production as the area of coastal upwelling moved on- and offshore as sea-level changed, as well as undoubtedly changes in upwelling intensity through wind forcing. Further studies are needed to fully understand the interrelationships of all these processes, which are required for building more reliable paleoceanographic-paleoclimatic records.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)809-835
Number of pages27
JournalJ MAR RES
Volume58
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2000

Keywords

  • CONTINENTAL MARGINS
  • COMMUNITY STRUCTURE
  • ISOTOPIC COMPOSITION
  • ARABIAN SEA
  • NORTHWEST AFRICA
  • ORGANIC-MATTER
  • GLACIAL-INTERGLACIAL CHANGES
  • Oceanography
  • NITRATE UTILIZATION
  • EQUATORIAL ATLANTIC
  • ATLANTIC-OCEAN

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