Seasonal carbon cycling in a Greenlandic fjord: an integrated pelagic and benthic study

Heidi Louise Sørensen, Lorenz Meire, Thomas Juul-Pedersen, Henko C. de Stigter, Filip J. R. Meysman, Søren Rysgaard, Bo Thamdrup, Ronnie N. Glud

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


Climate change is expected to have a pronounced effect on biogeochemical cycling in Arctic fjords, but current insight on the biogeochemical functioning of
these systems is limited. Here, we present seasonal data on primary production, export of particulate organic carbon (POC), and the coupling to benthic biogeochemistry in Kobbefjord (SW Greenland). Primary production and associated
POC export from the photic zone showed marked seasonality, with annual integrated values of 7.2 and 19.9 mol C m−2 yr−1, respectively. This discrepancy, the isotopic signature, and C:N ratio of the sedimentating material suggested sub - stantial import of marine POC from outside the fjord. At least 52% of the POC export reached the sediment, but the seasonality in pelagic productivity was not reflected in the sediment biogeochemistry, showing only moderate variation. Benthic mineralization and burial of organic carbon amounted to 3.2 and 5.3 mol C m−2 yr−1, respectively. Sulfate reduction was the most prominent mineralization pathway, accounting for 69% of the benthic mineralization, while denitrification accounted for 2%. Overall, the carbon mineralization and burial
in Kobbefjord were significantly higher than previously observed in other more northerly Arctic fjords. Data compilation from Arctic fjords suggests proportional increases in surface production, POC export, benthic mineralization and burial of
organic material with increasing duration of the ice-free period. Thus, the projected decline in ice coverage in higher Arctic Greenlandic fjords will, as a first approximation, entail proportional increases in productivity, mineralization, and
burial of organic carbon in the fjords, which will thus become similar to present-day southerly systems.
TidsskriftMarine Ecology - Progress Series
Sider (fra-til)1-17
StatusUdgivet - 12. nov. 2015


  • arctic
  • climate changes
  • primary production
  • POC export
  • benthic biogeochemistry
  • denitrification
  • anammox
  • sulfate reduction


Sørensen, H. L., Meire, L., Juul-Pedersen, T., de Stigter, H. C., Meysman, F. J. R., Rysgaard, S., Thamdrup, B., & Glud, R. N. (2015). Seasonal carbon cycling in a Greenlandic fjord: an integrated pelagic and benthic study. Marine Ecology - Progress Series, 539, 1-17.