Seasonal ecosystem metabolism across shallow benthic habitats measured by aquatic eddy covariance

Karl M. Attard*, Iván F. Rodil, Ronnie N. Glud, Peter Berg, Joanna Norkko, Alf Norkko

*Corresponding author for this work

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Shallow benthic habitats are hotspots for carbon cycling and energy flow, but metabolism (primary production and respiration) dynamics and habitat-specific differences remain poorly understood. We investigated daily, seasonal, and annual metabolism in six key benthic habitats in the Baltic Sea using ~ 2900 h of in situ aquatic eddy covariance oxygen flux measurements. Rocky substrates had the highest metabolism rates. Habitat-specific annual primary production per m 2 was in the order Fucus vesiculosus canopy > Mytilus trossulus reef > Zostera marina canopy > mixed macrophytes canopy > sands, whereas respiration was in the order M. trossulus > F. vesiculosus > Z. marina > mixed macrophytes > sands > aphotic sediments. Winter metabolism contributed 22–31% of annual rates. Spatial upscaling revealed that benthic habitats drive > 90% of ecosystem metabolism in waters ≤5 m depth, highlighting their central role in carbon and nutrient cycling in shallow waters.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLimnology and Oceanography Letters
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)79-86
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 16. Jun 2019


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