IIn this study the chemical composition of seston, transported by tidal water between an estuarine salt marsh and the adjacent water system, was assessed. The analytical techniques used are Pyrolysis in combination with Gas Chromatography and/or Mass Spectrometry. Interpretation of the Py-MS data was aided by discriminant analysis.

The presented results indicate that throughout the year a dominant refractory fraction is present in the seston, but that seasonal additions can be distinguished. Apart from this seasonal pattern, differences between ebb and flood can be visualized by the use of discriminant analysis. During summertime, flood seston is enriched with lipids and recently synthesized polysaccharides, while during the rest of the year the flood tide samples contain more (remains of) lignin and polysaccharides than their ebb tide counterparts. The lignin markers comprise only fragments with extremely altered (reduced) character.

These results, which highlight the molecular composition of the exchanged seston but do not offer exact quantitative budget estimations, provide no evidence for export of lignin-rich particulate halophytic material from the marsh to the water system. On the contrary, based on seston compositions, the water system seems to supply lignin-rich particles to the marsh during a considerable part of the year.

Mar. Chem.

Klap, V. A., Boon, J. J., Hemminga, M. A., & van Soelen, J. (1996). Assessment of the molecular composition of particulate organic matter exchanged between the Saeftinghe salt marsh (southwestern Netherlands) and the adjacent water system. Mar. Chem., 54, 221–243.