A field-based technique for sediment incubation experiments

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Diane M. Orihel *
Rebecca C. Rooney
(*) Corresponding Author:
Diane M. Orihel | orihel@ualberta.ca

Abstract

Sediment incubation experiments have been a cornerstone in limnology for improving our understanding of sediment processes in aquatic ecosystems. Experiments are usually performed in the laboratory, which has several limitations, including: additional handling that may disturb the integrity of the sediments, the financial expense of purchasing and maintaining growth chambers and anaerobic gloveboxes, and the inability to exactly recreate the ambient environmental conditions experienced by sediments in natural ecosystems. Furthermore, laboratory-based techniques are simply not possible with flocculent sediments from eutrophic ecosystems that are highly prone to separation following changes in pressure. Here, we describe a field-based technique for incubating sediment cores that is simple, versatile, and inexpensive. Our in situ incubation technique is highly effective for exposing sediments to natural temperature, pressure, and light regimes, and easily maintaining sediments under anaerobic conditions.

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