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Assessing the apparent imbalance between geochemical and biochemical indicators of meso- and bathypelagic biological activity: What the @$?! is wrong with present calculations of carbon budgets?

Assessing the apparent imbalance between geochemical and biochemical indicators of meso- and bathypelagic biological activity: What the @$?! is wrong with present calculations of carbon budgets?
Assessing the apparent imbalance between geochemical and biochemical indicators of meso- and bathypelagic biological activity: What the @$?! is wrong with present calculations of carbon budgets?
Metabolic activity in the water column below the euphotic zone is ultimately fuelled by the vertical flux of organic material from the surface. Over time, the deep ocean is presumably at steady state, with sources and sinks balanced. But recently compiled global budgets and intensive local field studies suggest that estimates of metabolic activity in the dark ocean exceed the influx of organic substrates. This imbalance indicates either the existence of unaccounted sources of organic carbon or that metabolic activity in the dark ocean is being over-estimated. Budgets of organic carbon flux and metabolic activity in the dark ocean have uncertainties associated with environmental variability, measurement capabilities, conversion parameters, and processes that are not well sampled. We present these issues and quantify associated uncertainties where possible, using a Monte Carlo analysis of a published data set to determine the probability that the imbalance can be explained purely by uncertainties in measurements and conversion factors. A sensitivity analysis demonstrates that the bacterial growth efficiencies and assumed cell carbon contents have the greatest effects on the magnitude of the carbon imbalance. Two poorly quantified sources, lateral advection of particles and a population of slowly settling particles, are discussed as providing a means of closing regional carbon budgets. Finally, we make recommendations concerning future research directions to reduce important uncertainties and allow a better determination of the magnitude and causes of the unbalanced carbon budgets.
0967-0645
1557-1571
Burd, Adrian B.
b9104c67-56ce-4304-a1a7-76bc457e138d
Hansell, Dennis A.
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Steinberg, Deborah K.
e4ce9b1a-f16d-4a73-a834-786ff9e3c2ef
Anderson, Thomas R.
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Arístegui, Javier
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Baltar, Federico
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Beaupré, Steven R.
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Buesseler, Ken O.
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DeHairs, Frank
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Jackson, George A.
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Kadko, David C.
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Koppelmann, Rolf
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Lampitt, Richard S.
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Nagata, Toshi
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Reinthaler, Thomas
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Robinson, Carol
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Robison, Bruce H.
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Tamburini, Christian
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Tanaka, Tsuneo
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Burd, Adrian B.
b9104c67-56ce-4304-a1a7-76bc457e138d
Hansell, Dennis A.
d4f0a3af-ca20-4791-a794-e52cbd56d654
Steinberg, Deborah K.
e4ce9b1a-f16d-4a73-a834-786ff9e3c2ef
Anderson, Thomas R.
dfed062f-e747-48d3-b59e-2f5e57a8571d
Arístegui, Javier
fa3df57a-07f6-4bfd-a319-b56ecb4433d8
Baltar, Federico
d66560d5-7fd4-46f4-a1ba-e2bcb701b0ac
Beaupré, Steven R.
bf0322d8-8357-4e7c-8112-9642866ddb08
Buesseler, Ken O.
8462cb4d-f7e0-4a8f-96f3-3e58f6163226
DeHairs, Frank
b18f8cce-9c05-42b7-967a-401a30f89e44
Jackson, George A.
cbf0b92d-1e05-463f-9ce5-bf5268f09d61
Kadko, David C.
4df9f3fd-1c79-4d8a-8199-32c3f0ee68c9
Koppelmann, Rolf
a8911473-1041-4368-bd6f-c40e60c2cc1c
Lampitt, Richard S.
dfc3785c-fc7d-41fa-89ee-d0c6e27503ad
Nagata, Toshi
87c3216d-1d6f-417e-b602-2bfa458fce0f
Reinthaler, Thomas
a15312e4-23b7-4e83-8760-dc59218dd2fc
Robinson, Carol
aa5b407d-ce1d-4706-a7ce-e2ee4c832071
Robison, Bruce H.
d83a6410-582f-4f2b-95f3-ffac89455e5c
Tamburini, Christian
445f11f9-4a45-4212-a5be-ba7563a80d14
Tanaka, Tsuneo
28c2c31d-1a02-4243-9b0c-8d33da509ecf

Burd, Adrian B., Hansell, Dennis A., Steinberg, Deborah K., Anderson, Thomas R., Arístegui, Javier, Baltar, Federico, Beaupré, Steven R., Buesseler, Ken O., DeHairs, Frank, Jackson, George A., Kadko, David C., Koppelmann, Rolf, Lampitt, Richard S., Nagata, Toshi, Reinthaler, Thomas, Robinson, Carol, Robison, Bruce H., Tamburini, Christian and Tanaka, Tsuneo (2010) Assessing the apparent imbalance between geochemical and biochemical indicators of meso- and bathypelagic biological activity: What the @$?! is wrong with present calculations of carbon budgets? Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 57 (16), 1557-1571. (doi:10.1016/j.dsr2.2010.02.022).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Metabolic activity in the water column below the euphotic zone is ultimately fuelled by the vertical flux of organic material from the surface. Over time, the deep ocean is presumably at steady state, with sources and sinks balanced. But recently compiled global budgets and intensive local field studies suggest that estimates of metabolic activity in the dark ocean exceed the influx of organic substrates. This imbalance indicates either the existence of unaccounted sources of organic carbon or that metabolic activity in the dark ocean is being over-estimated. Budgets of organic carbon flux and metabolic activity in the dark ocean have uncertainties associated with environmental variability, measurement capabilities, conversion parameters, and processes that are not well sampled. We present these issues and quantify associated uncertainties where possible, using a Monte Carlo analysis of a published data set to determine the probability that the imbalance can be explained purely by uncertainties in measurements and conversion factors. A sensitivity analysis demonstrates that the bacterial growth efficiencies and assumed cell carbon contents have the greatest effects on the magnitude of the carbon imbalance. Two poorly quantified sources, lateral advection of particles and a population of slowly settling particles, are discussed as providing a means of closing regional carbon budgets. Finally, we make recommendations concerning future research directions to reduce important uncertainties and allow a better determination of the magnitude and causes of the unbalanced carbon budgets.

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More information

Published date: 15 August 2010
Organisations: Marine Systems Modelling, Marine Biogeochemistry

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 160655
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/160655
ISSN: 0967-0645
PURE UUID: 20dd8617-caab-4ba2-8310-1f0e75271c14

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Date deposited: 16 Jul 2010 12:10
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 12:35

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Contributors

Author: Adrian B. Burd
Author: Dennis A. Hansell
Author: Deborah K. Steinberg
Author: Thomas R. Anderson
Author: Javier Arístegui
Author: Federico Baltar
Author: Steven R. Beaupré
Author: Ken O. Buesseler
Author: Frank DeHairs
Author: George A. Jackson
Author: David C. Kadko
Author: Rolf Koppelmann
Author: Richard S. Lampitt
Author: Toshi Nagata
Author: Thomas Reinthaler
Author: Carol Robinson
Author: Bruce H. Robison
Author: Christian Tamburini
Author: Tsuneo Tanaka

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