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Alternative particle formation pathways in the Eastern Tropical North Pacific's Biological Carbon Pump

Alternative particle formation pathways in the Eastern Tropical North Pacific's Biological Carbon Pump
Alternative particle formation pathways in the Eastern Tropical North Pacific's Biological Carbon Pump
A fraction of organic carbon produced in the oceans by phytoplankton sinks storing 5‐15 gigatonnes of carbon annually in the ocean interior. The accepted paradigm is that rapid aggregation of phytoplankton cells occurs forming large, fresh particles which sink quickly; this concept is incorporated into ecosystem models used to predict the future climate. Here we demonstrate a slower, less efficient export pathway in the Eastern Tropical North Pacific. Lipid biomarkers suggest the large, fast‐sinking particles found beneath the mixed layer are compositionally distinct from those found in the mixed layer and thus not directly and efficiently formed from phytoplankton cells. We postulate they are formed from the in situ aggregation of smaller, slow‐sinking particles over time in the mixed layer itself. This export pathway is likely widespread where smaller phytoplankton species dominate. Its lack of representation in biogeochemical models suggests they may be currently over‐estimating the ability of the oceans to store carbon if large, fast‐sinking, labile particles dominate simulated particle export.
2169-8953
Cavan, E. L.
aca6bc0e-f2ba-4378-8be6-4da7e1e9da31
Giering, S. L. C.
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Wolff, G. A.
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Trimmer, M.
4ee1556e-227e-4283-ae5a-be06be73691b
Sanders, R.
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Cavan, E. L.
aca6bc0e-f2ba-4378-8be6-4da7e1e9da31
Giering, S. L. C.
e9b75287-e35e-414a-a5f2-cef9f2ab2efd
Wolff, G. A.
6b29d886-06f9-4405-8fab-33cfb436acaa
Trimmer, M.
4ee1556e-227e-4283-ae5a-be06be73691b
Sanders, R.
02c163c1-8f5e-49ad-857c-d28f7da66c65

Cavan, E. L., Giering, S. L. C., Wolff, G. A., Trimmer, M. and Sanders, R. (2018) Alternative particle formation pathways in the Eastern Tropical North Pacific's Biological Carbon Pump. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences. (doi:10.1029/2018JG004392).

Record type: Article

Abstract

A fraction of organic carbon produced in the oceans by phytoplankton sinks storing 5‐15 gigatonnes of carbon annually in the ocean interior. The accepted paradigm is that rapid aggregation of phytoplankton cells occurs forming large, fresh particles which sink quickly; this concept is incorporated into ecosystem models used to predict the future climate. Here we demonstrate a slower, less efficient export pathway in the Eastern Tropical North Pacific. Lipid biomarkers suggest the large, fast‐sinking particles found beneath the mixed layer are compositionally distinct from those found in the mixed layer and thus not directly and efficiently formed from phytoplankton cells. We postulate they are formed from the in situ aggregation of smaller, slow‐sinking particles over time in the mixed layer itself. This export pathway is likely widespread where smaller phytoplankton species dominate. Its lack of representation in biogeochemical models suggests they may be currently over‐estimating the ability of the oceans to store carbon if large, fast‐sinking, labile particles dominate simulated particle export.

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Accepted/In Press date: 8 June 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 24 July 2018
Published date: July 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 422382
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/422382
ISSN: 2169-8953
PURE UUID: 059b459d-8c23-4358-9840-206744e61e47

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Date deposited: 23 Jul 2018 16:30
Last modified: 13 Mar 2019 18:17

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