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Remineralization of particulate organic carbon in an ocean oxygen minimum zone

Cavan, Emma L.; Trimmer, Mark; Shelley, Felicity; Sanders, Richard. 2017 Remineralization of particulate organic carbon in an ocean oxygen minimum zone. Nature Communications, 8. 14847. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms14847

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Abstract/Summary

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.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms14847
ISSN: 2041-1723
Date made live: 31 Mar 2017 13:30 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/515993

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