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Remineralization of particulate organic carbon in an ocean oxygen minimum zone

Remineralization of particulate organic carbon in an ocean oxygen minimum zone
Remineralization of particulate organic carbon in an ocean oxygen minimum zone
Biological oceanic processes, principally the surface production, sinking and interior remineralization of organic particles, keep atmospheric CO2 lower than if the ocean was abiotic. The remineralization length scale (RLS, the vertical distance over which organic particle flux declines by 63%, affected by particle respiration, fragmentation and sinking rates) controls the size of this effect and is anomalously high in oxygen minimum zones (OMZ). Here we show in the Eastern Tropical North Pacific OMZ 70% of POC remineralization is due to microbial respiration, indicating that the high RLS is the result of lower particle fragmentation by zooplankton, likely due to the almost complete absence of zooplankton particle interactions in OMZ waters. Hence, the sensitivity of zooplankton to ocean oxygen concentrations can have direct implications for atmospheric carbon sequestration. Future expansion of OMZs is likely to increase biological ocean carbon storage and act as a negative feedback on climate change.
Cavan, E. L.
aca6bc0e-f2ba-4378-8be6-4da7e1e9da31
Trimmer, M.
4ee1556e-227e-4283-ae5a-be06be73691b
Shelley, F.
82674b83-f5d2-4871-a7f8-01c13b016440
Sanders, R.
02c163c1-8f5e-49ad-857c-d28f7da66c65
Cavan, E. L.
aca6bc0e-f2ba-4378-8be6-4da7e1e9da31
Trimmer, M.
4ee1556e-227e-4283-ae5a-be06be73691b
Shelley, F.
82674b83-f5d2-4871-a7f8-01c13b016440
Sanders, R.
02c163c1-8f5e-49ad-857c-d28f7da66c65

Cavan, E. L., Trimmer, M., Shelley, F. and Sanders, R. (2017) Remineralization of particulate organic carbon in an ocean oxygen minimum zone Nature Communications, 8 (doi:10.1038/ncomms14847).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Biological oceanic processes, principally the surface production, sinking and interior remineralization of organic particles, keep atmospheric CO2 lower than if the ocean was abiotic. The remineralization length scale (RLS, the vertical distance over which organic particle flux declines by 63%, affected by particle respiration, fragmentation and sinking rates) controls the size of this effect and is anomalously high in oxygen minimum zones (OMZ). Here we show in the Eastern Tropical North Pacific OMZ 70% of POC remineralization is due to microbial respiration, indicating that the high RLS is the result of lower particle fragmentation by zooplankton, likely due to the almost complete absence of zooplankton particle interactions in OMZ waters. Hence, the sensitivity of zooplankton to ocean oxygen concentrations can have direct implications for atmospheric carbon sequestration. Future expansion of OMZs is likely to increase biological ocean carbon storage and act as a negative feedback on climate change.

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Accepted/In Press date: 6 February 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 21 March 2017
Published date: 21 March 2017
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science, Ocean Biochemistry & Ecosystems, National Oceanography Centre, Marine Biology & Ecology

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 407179
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/407179
PURE UUID: ab5cfe1d-f070-4c41-b747-e785f915d864

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Date deposited: 01 Apr 2017 01:03
Last modified: 31 Oct 2017 17:32

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Contributors

Author: E. L. Cavan
Author: M. Trimmer
Author: F. Shelley
Author: R. Sanders

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