Articles | Volume 20, issue 3
Research article
 | Highlight paper
13 Feb 2023
Research article | Highlight paper |  | 13 Feb 2023

The dispersal of fluvially discharged and marine, shelf-produced particulate organic matter in the northern Gulf of Mexico

Yord W. Yedema, Francesca Sangiorgi, Appy Sluijs, Jaap S. Sinninghe Damsté, and Francien Peterse


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Yedema et al. used multiple biomarkers and palynological proxies to track the fate of plant-derived, soil-microibal, fluvial, and marine-produced organic matter in the coastal sediments of the northern Gulf of Mexico. The key findings show plant-derived materials reaching the deepest waters in contrast to fluvial organic matter confined to the proximity of the river mouth. This source-specific difference in the coastal distribution and storage of organic matter can greatly contribute to elucidating the role of terrestrial organic matter in coastal carbon sequestration.
Short summary
Terrestrial organic matter (TerrOM) is transported to the ocean by rivers, where its burial can potentially form a long-term carbon sink. This burial is dependent on the type and characteristics of the TerrOM. We used bulk sediment properties, biomarkers, and palynology to identify the dispersal patterns of plant-derived, soil–microbial, and marine OM in the northern Gulf of Mexico and show that plant-derived OM is transported further into the coastal zone than soil and marine-produced TerrOM.
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