Sediment and Benthic Dynamics

Time series of sonar scans of bottom sediment in Barkley Canyon, Saanich Inlet and the Strait of Georgia show depressions or pits and resuspension events that come and go over time scales of weeks to months. Camera images suggest that benthic flatfish form these pits in Barkley Canyon. These flatfish and other bottom sea creatures can resuspend the surface sediments, completely turning over the surface layer within 100 days. Observations demonstrate that animals are important contributors to sediment mixing (bioturbation), which liberates nutrients back into the ocean where they support plankton growth.

Tidally forced resuspension and transport at the base of the Fraser River Delta are critical for the redistribution of seasonal deposits from the sediment-laden river freshet. Continued long-term monitoring enhances understanding of the response of marine ecosystems to changes in turbulence and currents on the seafloor. 

To learn more contact staff scientists Fabio De Leo and Martin Scherwath.