Y. COBAN-YILDIZ, A comparative study on the abundance and elemental composition of POM in three interconnected basins: the Black, the Marmara and the Mediterranean Seas, Mediterranean Marine Science, 1|2000, 51-64

The abundance and elemental composition of suspended particulate organic matter in the upper layers of the interconnected Mediterranean, Marmara and Black Seas having different ecosystems were determined in 1990-1998. The aim was principally to compare the C:N:P ratio of seston and understand factors controlling the seston composition in near- and off-shore waters of these seas. In the Marmara Sea, euphotic zone average particulate concentrations varied regionally and seasonally between 10-35 ìM for POC, 0.4-4.5 ìM for PON and 0.05-0.45 ìM for PP. These concentrations are mostly above the off-shore Black Sea values but much greater than those measured in the open waters of the north-eastern Mediterranean whose near-shore data are comparable with the seston content of the deep Black Sea. Comparison of C:N:P ratios of seston reveals that atmospheric and land-based phosphorus input influences the C:P and N:P ratios in the near-shore waters. Apparent nutrient deficiencies observed in the water column were not as remarkable in the elemental composition of seston. Unexpectedly, in the NE Mediterranean, N:P ratios from regression analyses of particulate data are very low (7-9) in the coastal region but slightly increase to levels of 10-15 in the open sea. In the Sea of Marmara, the N:P ratios (7-12) of seston are as low as in the Mediterranean, being consistent with the particulate ratios of the Black Sea inflow and NO3:PO4 ratios of the Marmara sub-halocline water. The Black Sea seston is relatively rich in carbonaceous compounds with N:P ratio ranging merely between 15-17 in the open sea but 9-27 in coastal waters where riverine discharges markedly influence the stoichiometry of seston.

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