Nutrient dynamics and ecosystem metabolism in the Bay of Blanes (NW Mediterranean)

Anna Lucea, Carlos Duarte*, Susana Agusti, Hilary Kennedy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The dynamics of the nutrient pools and their stoichiometry as well as their control by ecosystem metabolism (benthic and planktonic) and benthic-pelagic exchanges (sedimentation rates and sediment waterfluxes) were examined in the Mediterranean littoral (Blanes Bay, NE Spain). Dissolved organic nitrogen comprised about half of the nitrogen present in the water column and the carbon pool was dominated by the inorganic pool (95% of the carbon present in the water column). The dissolved and particulate organic pools were deficient in P relative to C and N, indicating a rapid recycling of P from organic matter. The pelagic compartment was heterotrophic, supported by significant allochthonous inputs of land material, which also contributed greatly to the sedimentary inputs (37% of total sedimenting carbon). In contrast, the benthic compartment was autotrophic, with the excess net benthic community production balancing the deficit in pelagic community production, leading to metabolic equilibrium at the station studied. Sedimentary inputs of nitrogen, phosphorus and silicon exceeded the benthic release, indicating that the benthic compartment acted as a sink for nutrients, consistent with its autotrophic nature. Carbon inputs to the benthic compartment also exceeded requirements, due to the allochthonous subsidies to the system, so that the benthic compartment stored or exported organic carbon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-323
Number of pages21
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2005


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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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