Blackwell Publishing Ltd
School of Natural Sciences / Centre for Marine Ecosystems Research
Previous studies conducted in La Fonera (Palamós) submarine canyon (NW Mediterranean) found that trawling activities along the canyon flanks cause resuspension and transport of sediments toward the canyon axis. 210Pb chronology supported by 137Cs dating applied to a sediment core collected at 1750m in 2002 suggested a doubling of the sediment accumulation rate since the 1970s, coincident with the rapid industrialization of the local trawling fleet. The same canyon area has been revisited a decade later, and new data are consistent with a sedimentary regime shift during the 1970s and also suggest that the accumulation rate during the last decade could be greater than expected, approaching ~2.4cmyr-1 (compared to ~0.25cmyr-1 pre-1970s). These results support the hypothesis that commercial bottom trawling can substantially affect sediment dynamics and budgets on continental margins, eventually initiating the formation of anthropogenic depocenters in submarine canyon environments
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