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Use of axial tomography to follow temporal changes of benthic communities in an unstable sedimentary environment (Baie des Ha! Ha!, Saguenay Fjord)

Michaud, Emma and Desrosiers, Gaston and Long, Bernard and De Montety, Laure and Crémer, Jean-François and Pelletier, Emilien and Locat, Jacques and Gilbert, Franck and Stora, Georges Use of axial tomography to follow temporal changes of benthic communities in an unstable sedimentary environment (Baie des Ha! Ha!, Saguenay Fjord). (2003) Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, vol. 285-286 (n° 12). pp. 265-282. ISSN 0022-0981

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0022-0981(02)00532-4

Abstract

In the upper layer of the sediment column, organic matter recycling is greatly influenced by bioturbation. However, there are many physical changes in the nature of the sediment that may disturb benthic communities and create a biogeochemical imbalance. Following a very heavy rainfall between 26 and 29 July 1996, an intense flash flood in the Saguenay Fjord caused discharges of 6 million cubic metres of sediments into Baie des Ha! Ha!. Unstable sediment deposits located at the top of the delta of the Rivie`re des Ha! Ha! were sporadically exported to the deep basin. After this physical disturbance, meiobenthic and macrobenthic organisms progressively re-colonised the sediment column. To determine the impacts of such sedimentary depositions on benthic fauna, two stations, one at the head and one at the mouth of the Baie des Ha! Ha!, have been monitored since 1996. During this survey, we developed a new method for the quantification of biogenic structures using computer axial tomography (CAT-Scan). Benthic fauna analysis showed that the two stations were characterised by different temporal changes in the benthic dynamics according to their geographic location. Using CAT-Scan analysis of sediment cores, we were able to characterise the stability of the sediment column for the two stations in 1999 and 2000. Scan results suggest that colonisation processes were closely linked with the stability of the sediment column. Erosion and redeposition of surficial sediments caused a succession in the formation of biogenic structures. These variations were characterised for the first time using CAT-Scan, which is a nondestructive, rapid, and precise method. Tomographic analysis showed the importance of the production and destruction rates of biogenic structures and the sedimentation rate for the preservation of burrows and potentially reactive components. This study finally demonstrated that each erosional event could be followed by a rapid formation of biogenic structures, allowing the re-oxidation of old deposits.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Thanks to Elsevier editor. The definitive version is available at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022098102005324
Audience (journal):International peer-reviewed journal
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:French research institutions > Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - CNRS
Other partners > Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRS (CANADA)
French research institutions > Institut de Recherche pour le Développement - IRD
Other partners > Université de la Méditerranée - Aix-Marseille II (FRANCE)
Other partners > Université du Québec à Rimouski - UQAR (CANADA)
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Deposited By: Franck Gilbert

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