Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 21 Issue 04

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Volume 21, No. 4
Pages 168 - 172


Quantifying Benthic Exchange of Fine Sediment via Continuous, Noninvasive Measurements of Settling Velocity and Bed Erodibility

Carl T. Friedrichs Grace M. CartwrightPatrick J. Dickhudt
First Paragraph

Benthic exchange of fine sediment has major implications for the structure and function of shelf and estuarine environments. Globally, the transport of particulate organic carbon from the land to the sea is closely associated with transport of mud (McKee et al., 2004). Fine sediment transport is particularly important to the occurrence of coastal eutrophication and to the fate and burial of pollutants because nutrients and contaminants tend to adsorb preferentially onto small particles (Lee and Wiberg, 2002). However, progress in characterizing muddy benthic exchange dynamics in the past has been slow because erosion and settling properties of fine sediment remain difficult to predict. Thanks in part to the availability of continuous, noninvasive measurements, initial results from the CoOP Multidisciplinary Benthic Exchange Dynamics (MUDBED) project strongly suggest that depositional events play a key role in perturbing bed erodibility and particle settling velocity away from more stable, biologically mediated values.


Friedrichs, C.T., G.M. Cartwright, and P.J. Dickhudt. 2008. Quantifying benthic exchange of fine sediment via continuous, noninvasive measurements of settling velocity and bed erodibility. Oceanography 21(4):168–172, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2008.14.


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