Gardner Wilford D.

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Wilford D.

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  • Thesis
    Fluxes, dynamics and chemistry of particulates in the ocean
    (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 1977-10) Gardner, Wilford D.
    Sediment traps designed to yield quantitative data of particulate fluxes have been deployed and successfully recovered on four moorings in the deep sea. The traps were designed after extensive calibration of different shapes of containers. Further intercalibration of trap design was made in field experiments over a range of current velocities. Experiments with Niskin bottles showed that concentrations of suspended particulate matter obtained with standard filtration methods were low and had to be increased by an average factor of 1.5 to correct for particles settling below the sampling spigot. The trap arrays were designed to sample the particulate fluxes both immediately above and within the nepheloid layer. The data derived from the traps have been used to estimate vertical fluxes of particles including, for the first time, an attempt to distinguish between the flux of material settling from the upper water column (the "primary flux") and material which has been resuspended from some region of the sea floor (resuspension flux). From these data and measurements of the net nepheloid standing crop of particles one can also estimate a residence time for particles resuspended in the nepheloid layer. This residence time appears to be on the order of days to weeks in the bottom 15 m of the water column and weeks to months in the bottom 100 m. Between 80% and 90% of the particles collected in the six traps where particle size was measured were less than 63 μm. The mean size of particles collected in the nepheloid layer was about 20 μm, and above the nepheloid layer the mean was 11 μm. Less than 3% of the organic carbon produced in the photic zone at the trap sites was collected as primary flux 500 m above the sea floor. The primary flux measured at two sites was enough to supply 75% on the upper Rise and 160% on the mid Rise of the organic carbon needed for respiration and for burial in the accumulating sediments. From an intercomparison of the composition of particles falling rapidly (collected in traps), falling slowly or not at all (collected in water bottles), and resting on the sea floor (from a core top), it was determined that elements associated with biogenic matter, such as Ca, Sr, Cu, and I, were carried preferentially by the particles falling rapidly. Once the particles reached the bottom, the concentration of those elements was decreased through decomposition, respiration, or dissolution. Dissolution appears rapid in the vicinity of the sea floor, because despite an abundance of radiolarians, diatoms, and juvenile foraminifera collected in all traps, these forms were rare in core samples. The dynamic nature of thenepheloid layer makes it possible for particles to be resuspended many times before they are finally buried. This enables sediment to be carried long distances from its origin. The recycling of particles near the sea floor may increase dissolution of silicious and carbonate matter.
  • Article
    Benthic storms, nepheloid layers, and linkage with upper ocean dynamics in the western North Atlantic
    (Elsevier, 2017-01-10) Gardner, Wilford D. ; Tucholke, Brian E. ; Richardson, Mary Josephine ; Biscaye, Pierre
    Benthic storms are episodic periods of strong abyssal currents and intense, benthic nepheloid (turbid) layer development. In order to interpret the driving forces that create and sustain these storms, we synthesize measurements of deep ocean currents, nephelometer-based particulate matter (PM) concentrations, and seafloor time-series photographs collected during several science programs that spanned two decades in the western North Atlantic. Benthic storms occurred in areas with high sea-surface eddy kinetic energy, and they most frequently occurred beneath the meandering Gulf Stream or its associated rings, which generate deep cyclones, anticyclones, and/or topographic waves; these create currents with sufficient bed-shear stress to erode and resuspend sediment, thus initiating or enhancing benthic storms. Occasionally, strong currents do not correspond with large increases in PM concentrations, suggesting that easily erodible sediment was previously swept away. Periods of moderate to low currents associated with high PM concentrations are also observed; these are interpreted as advection of PM delivered as storm tails from distal storm events. Outside of areas with high surface and deep eddy kinetic energy, benthic nepheloid layers are weak to non-existent, indicating that benthic storms are necessary to create and maintain strong nepheloid layers. Origins and intensities of benthic storms are best identified using a combination of time-series measurements of bottom currents, PM concentration, and bottom photographs, and these should be coupled with water-column and surface-circulation data to better interpret the specific relations between shallow and deep circulation patterns. Understanding the generation of benthic nepheloid layers is necessary in order to properly interpret PM distribution and its influence on global biogeochemistry.
  • Preprint
    An assessment of particulate organic carbon to thorium-234 ratios in the ocean and their impact on the application of 234Th as a POC flux proxy
    ( 2005-06-18) Buesseler, Ken O. ; Benitez-Nelson, Claudia R. ; Burd, Adrian B. ; Charette, Matthew A. ; Cochran, J. Kirk ; Coppola, L. ; Fisher, Nicholas S. ; Fowler, Scott W. ; Gardner, Wilford D. ; Guo, L. D. ; Gustafsson, Orjan ; Lamborg, Carl H. ; Masqué, Pere ; Miquel, Juan Carlos ; Passow, Uta ; Santschi, Peter H. ; Savoye, Nicolas ; Stewart, G. ; Trull, Thomas W.
    Thorium-234 is increasingly used as a tracer of ocean particle flux, primarily as a means to estimate particulate organic carbon export from the surface ocean. This requires determination of both the 234Th activity distribution (in order to calculate 234Th fluxes) and an estimate of the C/234Th ratio on sinking particles, to empirically derive C fluxes. In reviewing C/234Th variability, results obtained using a single sampling method show the most predictable behavior. For example, in most studies that employ in situ pumps to collect size fractionated particles, C/234Th either increases or is relatively invariant with increasing particle size (size classes >1 to 100’s μm). Observations also suggest that C/234Th decreases with depth and can vary significantly between regions (highest in blooms of large diatoms and highly productive coastal settings). Comparisons of C fluxes derived from 234Th show good agreement with independent estimates of C flux, including mass balances of C and nutrients over appropriate space and time scales (within factors of 2-3). We recommend sampling for C/234Th from a standard depth of 100 m, or at least one depth below the mixed layer using either large volume size fractionated filtration to capture the rarer large particles, or a sediment trap or other device to collect sinking particles. We also recommend collection of multiple 234Th profiles and C/234Th samples during the course of longer observation periods to better sample temporal variations in both 234Th flux and the characteristic of sinking particles. We are encouraged by new technologies which are optimized to more reliably sample truly settling particles, and expect the utility of this tracer to increase, not just for upper ocean C fluxes but for other elements and processes deeper in the water column.
  • Article
    An assessment of the use of sediment traps for estimating upper ocean particle fluxes
    (Sears Foundation for Marine Research, 2007-05) Buesseler, Ken O. ; Antia, Avan N. ; Chen, Min ; Fowler, Scott W. ; Gardner, Wilford D. ; Gustafsson, Orjan ; Harada, Koh ; Michaels, Anthony F. ; Rutgers van der Loeff, Michiel M. ; Sarin, Manmohan M. ; Steinberg, Deborah K. ; Trull, Thomas W.
    This review provides an assessment of sediment trap accuracy issues by gathering data to address trap hydrodynamics, the problem of zooplankton "swimmers," and the solubilization of material after collection. For each topic, the problem is identified, its magnitude and causes reviewed using selected examples, and an update on methods to correct for the potential bias or minimize the problem using new technologies is presented. To minimize hydrodynamic biases due to flow over the trap mouth, the use of neutrally buoyant sediment traps is encouraged. The influence of swimmers is best minimized using traps that limit zooplankton access to the sample collection chamber. New data on the impact of different swimmer removal protocols at the US time-series sites HOT and BATS are compared and shown to be important. Recent data on solubilization are compiled and assessed suggesting selective losses from sinking particles to the trap supernatant after collection, which may alter both fluxes and ratios of elements in long term and typically deeper trap deployments. Different methods are needed to assess shallow and short- term trap solubilization effects, but thus far new incubation experiments suggest these impacts to be small for most elements. A discussion of trap calibration methods reviews independent assessments of flux, including elemental budgets, particle abundance and flux modeling, and emphasizes the utility of U-Th radionuclide calibration methods.