We compare total and biogenic particle fluxes and stable nitrogen isotope ratios (d15N) at three mooring sites along a productivity gradient in the Canary Islands region with surface sediment accumulation rates and sedimentary d15N. Higher particle fluxes and sediment accumulation rates, and lower d15N were observed in the upwelling influenced eastern boundary region (EBC) compared to the oligotrophic sites north of Gran Canaria [European Station for Time-Series in the Ocean, Canary Islands (ESTOC]] and north of La Palma (LP). The impact of organic matter degradation and lateral particle advection on sediment accumulation was quantified with respect to the multi-year flux record at the ESTOC. Remineralisation of organic matter in the water column and at the sediment surface resulted in an organic carbon preservation of about 0.8% and total nitrogen preservation of about 0.4% of the estimated export production. Higher total and carbonate fluxes and accumulation rates in the lower traps and surface sediment compared to the upper traps indicated that at least 50% of the particulate matter at the ESTOC was derived from allochthonous sources. Low d15N values in the lower traps of the ESTOC and LP point to a source region influenced by coastal upwelling. We conclude from this study that the reconstruction of export production or nutrient regimes from sedimentary records in regions with strong productivity gradients might be biased due to the mixture of particles originating from autochthonous and allochthonous sources. This could result in an imprint of high productivity signatures on sedimentation processes in oligotrophic regions.
|Date made available||2001|