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Submarine mud volcanoes as a source of chromophoric dissolved organic matter to the deep waters of the Gulf of Cádiz

Amaral, V.; Romera-Castillo, C.; Forja, J.
2021
Scientific Reports
11
1
3200
2045-2322
Seafloor structures related to the emission of different fluids, such as submarine mud volcanoes (MVs), have been recently reported to largely contribute with dissolved organic matter (DOM) into the oceans. Submarine MVs are common structures in the Gulf of C'adiz. However, little is known about the biogeochemical processes that occur in these peculiar environments, especially those involving DOM. Here, we report DOM characterization in the sediment pore water of three MVs of the Gulf of C'adiz. Estimated benthic fluxes of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and chromophoric DOM (CDOM) were higher than in other marine sediments with an average of 0.11 ± 0.04 mmol m−2 d−1 for DOC and ranging between 0.11 and 2.86 m−1 L m−2 d−1, for CDOM. Protein-like components represented $sim$ 70% of the total fluorescent DOM (FDOM). We found that deep fluids migration from MVs (cold seeps) and anaerobic production via sulfate-reducing bacteria represent a source of DOC and FDOM to the overlying water column. Our results also indicate that fluorescent components can have many diverse sources not captured by common classifications. Overall, MVs act as a source of DOC, CDOM, and FDOM to the deep waters of the Gulf of C'adiz, providing energy to the microbial communities living there.
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