How widespread and important is N2 fixation in the North Atlantic Ocean?

Reynolds, S.E.; Mather, R.L.; Wolff, G.A.; Williams, R.G.; Landolfi, A.; Sanders, R.; Woodward, E.M.S.. 2007 How widespread and important is N2 fixation in the North Atlantic Ocean? Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 21. GB4015. 10.1029/2006GB002886

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The spatial extent of N2 fixation in the Atlantic Ocean is examined by determining the isotopic composition of N in suspended particulate organic nitrogen (δ15N PONsusp). The samples were collected from zonal and meridional transects of the Atlantic Ocean during a 3-year period. There is a consistent depleted δ15N PONsusp signal extending over the center of the northern subtropical gyre, which partly coincides with a region where the tracer N* increases westward following the gyre circulation. This nonconservative behavior of N* implies that N2 fixation is responsible for the depleted δ15N PONsusp. A mixing model suggests that N2 fixation over parts of the northern gyre provides up to 74% of the N utilized by phytoplankton. However, since the PONsusp represents only a small fraction of the total N pool, N2 fixation probably only plays a minor role in supplying new N to the euphotic zone in the surface waters of the northern subtropical gyre.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1029/2006GB002886
ISSN: 0886-6236
Additional Keywords: nitrogen fixation, North Atlantic, Atlantic meridional transect
Date made live: 11 Feb 2008 +0 (UTC)

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