Benthic oxygen dynamics and implication for the maintenance of chronic hypoxia and ecosystem degradation in the Berre lagoon (France) - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science Year : 2021

Benthic oxygen dynamics and implication for the maintenance of chronic hypoxia and ecosystem degradation in the Berre lagoon (France)

Christian Grenz
Patricia Bonin

Abstract

Chronic hypoxia and anoxia have strong impacts on coastal aquatic ecosystems worldwide. Such situations are essentially driven by high benthic oxygen (O2) demand resulting from organic matter mineralization in surface sediment and amplified by a low mixing of the water column. However, the benthic O2 demand may greatly vary according to the O2 availability, sediment biogeochemical properties, and bioturbation by macrobenthic fauna. Here we examined how the sediment O2 demand vary in response to seasonal and long-term (pluri-decadal) hypoxia in the Berre lagoon, a coastal ecosystem impacted by chronic hypoxia events since ca 60 years. Oxygen penetration depth, diffusive and total O2 fluxes were measured in situ using a microelectrode autonomous profiler and benthic chamber deployments at three sites impacted by quite-permanent (PA), seasonal (PI) and occasional (PO) hypoxia in August 2016. Those measurements were seasonally repeated at site PI between August 2015 and August 2016. Additional physical and chemical characteristics were also measured in surface sediment. Sediment profile images analysis combined to measures of benthic macrofaunal communities characteristics were determined in order to estimate the quality of the benthic ecosystem. The highest benthic O2 demand was observed after seasonal anoxia in relation to the important accumulation of reduced chemical species in surface sediment. Interestingly, both pluri-decadal hypoxia and normoxia produced relatively high benthic O2 demand related to a higher accumulation of organic matter and to the presence of reduced chemical species at site dominated by hypoxia, and to the presence of fresher organic matter and active bioturbating macrofaunal communities in normoxic site. The low benthic O2 demand at site seasonally impacted by hypoxia was explained by the degraded state of the macrofaunal community and by the lower accumulation of reduced chemical species. The occurrence of hypoxia and anoxia situations in the Berre lagoon was predicted from the competition between kinetics of benthic O2 demand and water column reoxygenation events induced by strong wind. The good correspondence between the measured and predicted hypoxia/anoxia occurrence clearly indicates that the chronic deoxygenation events in the Berre lagoon, and the associated degraded state of the benthic ecosystem are driven jointly by the benthic O2 demand and the intensity and duration of the water column stratification.
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Dates and versions

hal-03249104 , version 1 (03-06-2021)

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Attribution - NonCommercial - NoDerivatives

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Sylvain Rigaud, Bruno Deflandre, Christian Grenz, Florian Cesbron, Lara Pozzato, et al.. Benthic oxygen dynamics and implication for the maintenance of chronic hypoxia and ecosystem degradation in the Berre lagoon (France). Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 2021, 258, pp.107437. ⟨10.1016/j.ecss.2021.107437⟩. ⟨hal-03249104⟩
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