No strong evidence of priming effects on the degradation of terrestrial plant detritus in estuarine sediments

Evangelia Gontikaki* (Corresponding Author), Ursula Witte* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

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The occurrence of priming effects (PEs) on the degradation of particulate terrestrial organic matter (OM) (13C-wheat detritus) was studied in marine sediments using phytoplankton detritus as priming inducer. Two scenarios, i.e., single-pulse vs. repetitive deposition of same amounts of algal detritus, were tested in sediment core incubation experiments. In the first case, a single pulse of phytodetritus emulated the sudden large input of phytoplanktonic material onto sediments following the decline of spring blooms in surface waters, whereas the repetitive deposition of small amounts of algal detritus represented the low, continuous flow of marine input of either pelagic or benthic origin that remains significant all year round. The mineralization rate of wheat detritus to 13CO2 in each treatment was measured on days 6, 8, 14, and 20 following the initiation of the experiment. No evidence of PEs on 13C-wheat mineralization upon the addition of labile phytodetritus could be detected in either scenario under the experimental conditions employed in this study.

Original languageEnglish
Article number327
JournalFrontiers in Marine Science
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2019

Bibliographical note

EG was funded by the MASTS pooling initiative (The Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland). MASTS was funded by the Scottish Funding Council (Grant reference HR09011) and contributing institutions. EG is currently funded by the Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation (HFRI) (grant number 1874) and the General Secretariat for Research and Technology (GSRT). This study was funded by the MASTS Marine Biogeochemistry Forum small grants scheme and their support is gratefully acknowledged.


  • Aquatic
  • Bacteria
  • Degradation
  • Marine
  • Priming effects
  • Sediment
  • Stable isotopes
  • Terrestrial organic matter


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