Amino acid composition of suspended particles, sediment-trap material, and benthic sediment in the Potomac Estuary

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Sediment trap deployments in estuaries provide a method for estimating the amount of organic material transported to the sediments from the euphotic zone. The amino acid composition of suspended particles, benthic sediment, and sediment-trap material collected at 2.4 m, 5.8 m, and 7.9 m depths in the Potomac Estuary was determined in stratified summer waters, and in well-mixed oxygenated waters (DO) in late fall. The total vertical flow, or flux, of material into the top traps ranged from 3 g m-2 d-1 in August to 4.9 g m-2 d-1 in October. The carbon and nitrogen fluxes increased in the deepest traps relative to the surface traps during both sampling periods, along with that of the total material flux (up to 47.3 g m-2 d-1 in the deepest trap), although the actual weight percent of organic carbon and organic nitrogen decreased with depth. Amino acid concentrations ranged from 129 mg g-1 in surface water particulate material to 22 mg g-1 in particulate material in 9-m-deep waters and in the benthic sediment. Amino acid concentrations from 2.4-mg-depth sediment traps averaged 104??29 mg g-1 in stratified waters and 164??81 mg g-1 in well-mixed waters. The deep trap samples averaed, 77.3??4.8 mg g-1 amino acids in summer waters and 37??16 mg g-1 in oxygenated fall waters. Amino acids comprised 13% to 39% of the organic carbon and 12% to 89% of the orgnaic nitrogen in these samples. Analysis of the flux results suggest that resuspension combined with lateral advection from adjacent slopes can account for up to 27% of the material in the deep traps when the estuary was well-mixed and unstratified. When the estuary was stratified in late summer, the amino acid carbon produced by primary productivity in the euphotic zone decreased by 85% (86% for total organic carbon) at the pycnocline at 6 m depth, leaving up to 15% of the vertical organic flux available for benthic sediment deposition. ?? 1993 Estuarine Research Federation.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Amino acid composition of suspended particles, sediment-trap material, and benthic sediment in the Potomac Estuary
Series title Estuaries
DOI 10.2307/1352588
Volume 16
Issue 3
Year Published 1993
Language English
Publisher Springer-Verlag
Larger Work Title Estuaries
First page 405
Last page 415
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