Nitrogen isotope simulations show the importance of atmospheric iron deposition for nitrogen fixation across the Pacific Ocean Public Deposited

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  • Nitrogen (N) fixation by specialized microorganisms (diazotrophs) influences global plankton productivity because it provides the ocean with most of its bio-available N. However, its global rate and large-scale spatial distribution is still regarded with considerable uncertainty. Here we use a global ocean nitrogen isotope model, in comparison with δ15NO3 observations, to constrain the pattern of N2 fixation across the Pacific Ocean. N2 fixation introduces isotopically light atmospheric N2 from to the ocean (δ15N = 0‰) relative to the oceanic average near 5‰, which makes nitrogen isotopes suitable to infer patterns of N2 fixation. Including atmospheric iron limitation of diazotrophy in the model shifts the pattern of simulated N2 fixation from the South Pacific to the North Pacific and from the East Pacific westward. These changes considerably improve the agreement with meridional transects of available δ15NO3 observations, as well as excess P (PO4 − NO3/16), suggesting that atmospheric iron deposition is indeed important for N fixation in the Pacific Ocean. This study highlights the potential for using δ15N observations and model simulations to constrain patterns and rates of N fixation in the ocean.
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  • Somes, C. J., A. Schmittner, and M. A. Altabet (2010), Nitrogen isotope simulations show the importance of atmospheric iron deposition for nitrogen fixation across the Pacific Ocean, Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L23605, doi:10.1029/2010GL044537
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  • Geophysical Research Letters
  • Vol. 37 (2010)
  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Sue Kunda(sue.kunda@oregonstate.edu) on 2011-01-05T16:48:17Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 somes2010GL044537.pdf: 1594596 bytes, checksum: 5757b25184f793ab782f8d6d97d8a32d (MD5)
  • description.provenance : Made available in DSpace on 2011-01-05T16:48:17Z (GMT). No. of bitstreams: 1 somes2010GL044537.pdf: 1594596 bytes, checksum: 5757b25184f793ab782f8d6d97d8a32d (MD5) Previous issue date: 2010-12-03
  • description.provenance : Submitted by Andreas Schmittner (aschmittner@coas.oregonstate.edu) on 2010-12-28T17:06:02Z No. of bitstreams: 1 somes2010GL044537.pdf: 1594596 bytes, checksum: 5757b25184f793ab782f8d6d97d8a32d (MD5)

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