Gas exchange system for extended in situ benthic chamber flux measurements under controlled oxygen conditions: First application - Sea bed methane emission measurements at Captain Arutyunov mud volcano

Stefan Sommer, Matthias Türk, Sonja Kriwanek,Olaf Pfannkuche

Limnol. Oceanogr. Methods 6:23-33 (2008) | DOI: 10.4319/lom.2008.6.23

ABSTRACT: Mass transfer rates of many gases, nutrients, and trace metals across the sediment water interface are dependent on environmental oxygen conditions. In this article, a novel gas exchange system for extended in situ flux and respiration measurements in benthic chambers under defined oxygen conditions is described. Integrated within a GEOMAR modular lander, the gas exchange system was used to perform in situ measurements of the total oxygen uptake and sea bed methane emission rates under constant oxygen conditions at Captain Arutyunov mud volcano (Gulf of Cadiz) in a water depth of 1320 m. During two separate lander deployments, the oxygen concentration within the benthic chambers was kept constant for 37 and 47 h, respectively. Under these conditions total oxygen uptake rate remained constant at 4.4 and 13.2 mmol m–2 d–1. Seabed methane emission was low, in the range 0 to 0.2 mmol m–2 d–1. The system is suited for prolonged (days) in situ flux determinations under natural background oxygen conditions and offers a wide range of experimental applications.