Sedimentation following the spring bloom in Disko Bay West Greenland, with special emphasis on the role of copepods

T. Juul-Pedersen, Torkel Gissel Nielsen, C. Michel, E.F. Møller, P. Tiselius, P. Thor, M. Olesen, Erik Selander, S. Gooding

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The sedimentation of particulate organic material was investigated in Disko Bay, West Greenland, during June 2001. Post spring-bloom conditions were encountered, with seasonally decreasing phytoplankton biomass associated with the pycnocline. Calanus finmarchicus, C. glacialis, and C. hyperboreus dominated the zooplankton community, comprising up to 88% of the copepod biomass. Faecal pellet production by C. finmarchicus and C. glacialis was positively correlated to the available food (chlorophyll a > 10 mu m). Results from short-term sediment trap deployments (6 h) showed that particulate organic carbon (POC) sedimentation from the euphotic zone was, on average, 628 mg C m(-2) d(-1), with copepod faecal pellets contributing, on average, 29% of this amount. The faecal pellet contribution to the vertical sinking export of POC was equivalent to that of phytoplankton and amorphous detritus. Yet, on average, 35% of the copepod faecal pellet production was retained within the euphotic zone. The POC: PON (particulate organic nitrogen) ratio of the suspended material in the euphotic zone (8.1 +/- 0.4) was comparable to that of the material collected in the sediment traps just below the euphotic zone (8.0 +/- 0.9). In addition, the daily loss rates of POC and PON within each sampling depth were similar, and the carbon to nitrogen ratio in the sediment traps did not change with depth. These results indicate that the pelagic system had a low retention efficiency of nitrogen just after the spring bloom.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMarine Ecology - Progress Series
Pages (from-to)239-255
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Arctic marine ecology
  • Sedimentation
  • Faecal pellet production
  • Calanus spp.
  • Carbon flux


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