EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Proxies, drivers, and impact of macrofaunal transport in sediment of the southern North Sea.

Andreas Neumann1, Justus van Beusekom1, Annika Eisele1, Kay-Christian Emeis1,2, Jana Friedrich1, Ingrid Kröncke3, Julia Meyer3,4, Ulrike Schückel3,5, and Alexa Wrede1
Andreas Neumann et al.
  • 1Helmholtz Zentrum Geesthacht, Institute of Coastal Research, Geesthacht, Germany (
  • 2Universität Hamburg
  • 3Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung
  • 4Universität Oldenburg
  • 5Nationalparkverwaltung S.-H. Wattenmeer

Coastal sediments play an important role in the nutrient cycling, and the intensities of exchange processes between bottom water and pore water control the balance between sequestration and recycling of nutrients. Pore water advection as one major exchange mechanism is determined by physical parameters and thus well describable with models. By contrast, biotransport (bioirrigation, bioturbation) as the other major transport mechanism is much more complex and observational data are often scarce to quantify these processes.

We present ex-situ observations of oxygen and nutrient fluxes, sediment characteristics, and fauna composition over the past six years from all benthic provinces of the German Bight, which enable us to describe the spatial and seasonal variability of the benthic- pelagic coupling. We employ this dataset to detect environmental drivers of the observed variability and to test several proxies of faunal activity.

Our results show that abiotic parameters (sediment type, local primary production) explain the spatial variability while the dynamics of temperature and faunal activity explain the temporal variability. Effects of the complex benthic communities on benthic exchange rates can be parameterized by surprisingly simple proxies, which may help to improve benthic exchange models. By comparing in-situ measurements of pore water advection with ex situ observations, we conclude that biotransport approximately doubles the benthic- pelagic exchange rates in the German Bight.

How to cite: Neumann, A., van Beusekom, J., Eisele, A., Emeis, K.-C., Friedrich, J., Kröncke, I., Meyer, J., Schückel, U., and Wrede, A.: Proxies, drivers, and impact of macrofaunal transport in sediment of the southern North Sea., EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-20810,, 2020.