The Benthic Boundary Layer: Transport Processes and Biogeochemistry



Interdisciplinary research is certainly one of the current buzzwords that needs to be incorporated in virtually every grant proposal. The idea that integration of different scientific fields is a prerequisite for progress in Earth sciences is now well recognized. The benthic boundary layer (BBL) is one area of research in which physicists, chemists, biologists, geologists, and engineers have worked in close and fruitful cooperation for several decades. The BBL comprises the near-bottom layer of water, the sediment-water interface, and the top layer of sediment that is directly influenced by the overlying water. In 1974, a BBL conference in France resulted in a book titled The Benthic Boundary Layer edited by I.N. McCave. This publication contained contributions from scientists from a wide range of disciplines and gave an overview of the state-of-the-art of BBL research. However, science has moved on in the past 25 years. Significant conceptual and technological progress has been made, and it is definitely time for an update.