Organic matter sedimentation in the western Barents Sea region: Terrestrial and marine contribution based on isotopic composition and organic nitrogen content
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.pp 79-89

Here, we present bulk organic geochemical data from a spatial grid of surface samples from the western Barents Sea region. The results show that the distribution of organic carbon in surface sediments is predominantly controlled by input from land-derived terrigenous and in-situ produced marine organic matter. Inferred from various nitrogenous fractions and stable isotopes of bulk organic carbon we show that the spatial distribution of terrigenous organic carbon is independent of water depth, organic carbon mineralization and variable sedimentation rates. Instead, the pattern is predominantly controlled by sea ice-induced lateral transport and subsequent release in the Marginal Ice Zone (MIZ) as well as the distance to shore. Consistent with the observation of high vertical flux of particulate organic material in the MIZ, are amounts of marine organic carbon significantly enhanced in sediments below the winter ice margin. This is in accordance with modern observations suggesting that Arctic shelves with seasonal ice zones can be hot spots of vertical carbon export and thus a potential CO2 sink.

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