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Evidence for reduced biogenic silica dissolution rates in diatom aggregates

Abstract : Because aggregated diatoms sink rapidly through the water column, leaving little time for dissolution, aggregation influences the balance between recycling of biogenic silica (bSiO2) and its sedimentation and preservation at the seafloor. Additionally, aggregation may directly impact dissolution rates of opal. Laboratory experiments were conducted to investigate the influence of aggregation on bSiO2 dissolution rates using 3 different batch cultures of the diatoms Chaetoceros decipiens, Skeletonema costatum, and Thalassiosira weissflogii. Specific dissolution rates of bSiO2 of aggregated and freely suspended diatoms were compared. Additionally, the influences of the dissolved silicon (dSi) concentration in the pore water of aggregates, the viability of diatoms, and the concentrations of transparent exopolymer particles (TEP) and of bacteria on bSiO2 dissolution rates were determined. Initial specific dissolution rates of diatom frustules were significantly lower for aggregated diatoms (2.9% d–1) than for freely suspended diatoms (6.6% d–1). Lower specific dissolution rates in aggregates were attributed to elevated dSi concentrations in aggregate pore water (maximum 230 vs. 20 µmol l–1) and to the fact that aggregated diatoms remained viable for longer than freely suspended diatoms. Specific bSiO2 dissolution was significantly correlated to viability of cells independent of treatment. Bacterial concentrations in both treatments appeared high enough, so that after cell death the coating protecting the silica frustule was degraded without measurable delay. The TEP content of aggregates appeared to affect dissolution rates, possibly by retaining solutes within aggregates.
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https://hal.univ-brest.fr/hal-00381254
Contributor : Brivaëla Moriceau <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, June 23, 2009 - 12:51:00 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, June 23, 2020 - 3:40:43 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Thursday, June 10, 2010 - 8:55:30 PM

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Brivaëla Moriceau, Michael Garvey, Uta Passow, Olivier Ragueneau. Evidence for reduced biogenic silica dissolution rates in diatom aggregates. Marine Ecology Progress Series, Inter Research, 2007, 333, pp.129-142. ⟨10.3354/meps333129⟩. ⟨hal-00381254⟩

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