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Evidence for suboxic nitrification in recent marine sediments.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


  • R. J. G. Mortimer
  • M. D. Krom
  • S. J. Harris
  • P. J. Hayes
  • I. M. Davies
  • William Davison
  • Hao Zhang
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2002
<mark>Journal</mark>Marine Ecology Progress Series
Issue number1
Number of pages5
Pages (from-to)31-35
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The classical scheme of biogeochemical zones (BGZ) is known to be an oversimplification of the microbial processes that occur in organic-rich marine sediments. Results from a coupled deployment of pore-water gel probes in Loch Duich, Scotland, provide direct evidence for rapid recycling within the iron reduction (FeR) and sulphate reduction (SR) zones. High resolution pore-water profiles obtained using diffusive equilibrium in thin films (DET) gel probes found a nitrate peak at the boundary between the FeR and SR zones. This non-steady state feature is consistent with recycling of reduced N occurring throughout the FeR zone. Both conventional pore-water iron profiles and results from diffusive gradient in thin films (DGT) probes indicate that iron is solubilised and precipitated in rapid Fe/S recycling reactions throughout the SR zone. The presence of such complex recycling reactions confirms the oversimplification of the classical BGZ scheme.

Bibliographic note

(c)Inter-Research 2002.