D. Q. Anderson


It has been shown, in previous contributions (1) from this Institution, that the organic matter of the marine bottom has a characteristic chemical composition, similar in many respects to the humus of field and garden soils. This organic matter is not inert but can undergo slow but gradual oxidation, a process shown (2) to be largely biological in nature. In shallower bottoms and closer to land, the organic matter was found to be oxidized more readily than that of deep seas. The non-nitrogenous constituents decomposed more readily than the nitrogenous substances, with the result that the carbon-nitrogen ratio of the organic matter tended to become narrower.