Iversen, MH et al. (2010): Mass fluxes and organic carbon fluxes at four stations off Cape Blanc, NW Africa (Mauritania). doi:10.1594/PANGAEA.745523, Supplement to:Iversen, Morten Hvitfeldt; Nowald, Nicolas; Ploug, Helle; Jackson, George A; Fischer, Gerhard (2010): High resolution profiles of vertical particulate organic matter export off Cape Blanc, Mauritania: Degradation processes and ballasting effects. Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, 57(6), 771-784, doi:10.1016/j.dsr.2010.03.007
Vertical carbon fluxes between the surface and 2500 m depth were estimated from in situ profiles of particle size distributions and abundances me/asured off Cape Blanc (Mauritania) related to deep ocean sediment traps. Vertical mass fluxes off Cape Blanc were significantly higher than recent global estimates in the open ocean. The aggregates off Cape Blanc contained high amounts of ballast material due to the presence of coccoliths and fine-grained dust from the Sahara desert, leading to a dominance of small and fast-settling aggregates. The largest changes in vertical fluxes were observed in the surface waters (<250 m), and, thus, showing this site to be the most important zone for aggregate formation and degradation. The degradation length scale (L), i.e. the fractional degradation of aggregates per meter settled, was estimated from vertical fluxes derived from the particle size distribution through the water column. This was compared with fractional remineralization rate of aggregates per meter settled derived from direct ship-board measurements of sinking velocity and small-scale O2 fluxes to aggregates measured by micro-sensors. Microbial respiration by attached bacteria alone could not explain the degradation of organic matter in the upper ocean. Instead, flux feeding from zooplankton organisms was indicated as the dominant degradation process of aggregated carbon in the surface ocean. Below the surface ocean, microbes became more important for the degradation as zooplankton was rare at these depths.