ORGANIC MATTER DEGRADATION IN CHILEAN SEDIMENTS – FOLLOWING NATURE’S OWN DEGRADATION EXPERIMENT Degradation of sedimentary organic matter was studied at two stations from the shelf of the Chilean upwelling region. Sediment cores were taken at 1200 m and 800 m water depth and were 4.5 m and 7.5 m in length, respectively. The objective of this study was to assess the degradability of the organic matter from the sediment surface to the deep sediments. This was done by analysing amino acids (both L- and D-isomers) and amino sugars in the sediment cores, covering a timescale of 15.000 years. Diagenetic indicators (percentage of carbon and nitrogen present as amino acid carbon and nitrogen, the ratio between a protein precursor and its non-protein degradation product and the percentage of D-amino acids) revealed ongoing degradation in these sediments, indicating that microorganisms were still active in 15.000 year old sediments. Since the microbial activity in the deep sediments is very low, it is still not possible to measure it directly. Following nature’s own experiment back in time will provide us with new insights about the microbial activity in the deeply buried sediments. Poster presentation Session #:053 Date: 01-27-09 Time: 18:00 - 20:00 Presentation is given by student: Yes
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ASLO Aquatic Sciences Meeting 2009: a cruise through Nice Waters.