Estuarine respiration: an overview of benthic, pelagic, and whole system respiration
This chapter reviews the rates of benthic, pelagic, and whole system respiration in estuaries. Estuaries are defined as semi-enclosed coastal bodies of water with some degree of mixing between fresh and salt water. Rates of respiration in these locations are high, reflecting high rates of organic loading from both autochthonous and allochthonous sources. Areal rates of pelagic respiration (58-114 mmol C/m2-d) are 2-4 times higher than benthic respiration rates (34 mmol C/m2-d), consistent with estimates that only about 24% of total organic inputs to estuaries are respired by the benthos. Estimates of whole system respiration derived from open-water techniques (294 mmol C/m2-d) are substantially higher than those obtained by summing component rates (92-148 mmol C/m2-d), this is most likely due to the different spatial scales sampled by the two different approaches.
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