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Metabolic balance of the open sea

Karl, D.M., Law, E.A., Morris, P., Williams, P. le B. and Emerson, S. (2003) Metabolic balance of the open sea Nature, 426, (6962), p.32. (doi:10.1038/426032a).

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The rise of oxygenic photosynthesis nearly three billion years ago led to the accumulation of free oxygen and to the subsequent diversification of life on Earth; today, nearly half of all oxygen production derives from the photosynthetic activities of marine phytoplankton1. The conclusion that the open sea –– and therefore much of our planet's surface –– is in a net heterotrophic metabolic state2, 3, 4 is enigmatic and is a first-order question in the global carbon cycle, as discussed by del Giorgio and Duarte5. Our findings suggest that autotrophy in the open sea is episodic and decoupled from the more constant heterotrophic processes. Consequently, the metabolic balance of the open sea depends on proper space and timescale integration to achieve an ecological understanding of life in the sea.

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Published date: 2003


Local EPrints ID: 41832
ISSN: 0028-0836
PURE UUID: 17a643ee-60a5-4a1d-bfbd-8ea13eae9822

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Date deposited: 05 Oct 2006
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 15:27

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Author: D.M. Karl
Author: E.A. Law
Author: P. Morris
Author: P. le B. Williams
Author: S. Emerson

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