Chlorophyll Diagenesis in the Water Column and Sediments of the Black Sea
WOODS HOLE OCEANOGRAPHIC INSTITUTION MA
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This thesis examines the degradation pathways of chlorophyll in the Black Sea water column and sediments. Measurements are made of total chlorophyll in sediment traps from two locations and depths in the water column, and at two locations in surface sediments. Individual chlorophyll degradation products are also identified. This data is used to construct a mass balance of chlorophyll production and sedimentation showing the major pathways for chlorophyll loss and the ultimate sedimentary sinks. The distribution of chlorophyll degradation products is also analyzed down core and related to environmental changes in the Black Sea. Several new sinks for chlorophyll degradation products are identified. Steryl esters of pyropheophorbide-a are identified in sediment trap and sediment samples. It is thought that these compounds are formed during grazing. In sediment traps it is found that the distribution of the sterols esterified to pyropheophorbide-a change with season and that the sterols esterified are related to the distribution of sterols synthesized by the phytoplankton living in the photic zone at the time of production. Analysis of pyropheophorbide-a steryl esters in sediments shows the distribution of sterols to be quantitatively and qualitativelv more similar to the distribution of free sterols in sediment traps than in sediments. The esterification of the sterols to pyropheophorbide-a apparently prevents the preferential removal of 4- desmethylsterols relative to 4-methylsterols during degradation of the sterol esters.
- Biological Oceanography
- Physical and Dynamic Oceanography