Distribution of biochemical constituents in the surface sediments of western coastal Bay of Bengal: Influence of river discharge and water column properties
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Biochemical composition of surface sediment samples from off major and minor rivers along the east coast of India revealed that spatial distribution of sediment organic carbon (SOC) composition was mainly governed by differential characteristics of discharged water and associated biogeochemical processes in the water column. The northwest (NW) region of coastal Bay of Bengal was influenced by discharges from Ganges river while peninsular (monsoonal) rivers influenced the southwest (SW) region. The NW region characterized by low nutrients suspended particulate matter (SPM), high phytoplankton biomass in the water column and high SOC while contrasting to that observed in the SW region. The isotopic ratios of SOC (-22 ppt) in the NW region were close to that of organic matter derived from phytoplankton (-23 ppt) suggesting in situ production is the major source whereas terrigeneous source contributed significantly in the SW region (-19.6 ppt). Though low in situ biological production in the SW region, relatively higher total carbohydrates (TCHO) were found than in the NW and insignificant difference of total and free amino acid concentrations between NW and SW were resulted from faster removal of organic matter to the sediment in association with SPM in the SW region. Higher proteins concentrations than total amino acids indicate that nitrogenous organic matter is preserved in the former form. The protein to TCHO ratio was lower in the SW suggesting significant contribution of aged and non-living organic matter in this region.
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