Jelly biomass sinking speed reveals a fast carbon export mechanism

Lebrato, Mario, de Jesus Mendes, Pedro, Steinberg, Deborah K., Cartes, Joan E., Jones, Bethan M., Birsa, Laura M., Benavides, Roberto and Oschlies, Andreas (2013) Jelly biomass sinking speed reveals a fast carbon export mechanism Limnology and Oceanography, 58 (3). pp. 1113-1122. DOI 10.4319/lo.2013.58.3.1113.

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Abstract

Sinking of gelatinous zooplankton biomass is an important component of the biological pump removing carbon from the upper ocean. The export efficiency, e.g., how much biomass reaches the ocean interior sequestering carbon, is poorly known because of the absence of reliable sinking speed data. We measured sinking rates of gelatinous particulate organic matter (jelly-POM) from different species of scyphozoans, ctenophores, thaliaceans, and pteropods, both in the field and in the laboratory in vertical columns filled with seawater using high-quality video. Using these data, we determined taxon-specific jelly-POM export efficiencies using equations that integrate biomass decay rate, seawater temperature, and sinking speed. Two depth scenarios in several environments were considered, with jelly-POM sinking from 200 and 600 m in temperate, tropical, and polar regions. Jelly-POM sank on average between 850 and 1500 m d−1 (salps: 800–1200 m d−1; ctenophores: 1200–1500 m d−1; scyphozoans: 1000–1100 m d−1; pyrosomes: 1300 m d−1). High latitudes represent a fast-sinking and low-remineralization corridor, regardless of species. In tropical and temperate regions, significant decomposition takes place above 1500 m unless jelly-POM sinks below the permanent thermocline. Sinking jelly-POM sequesters carbon to the deep ocean faster than anticipated, and should be incorporated into biogeochemical and modeling studies to provide more realistic quantification of export via the biological carbon pump worldwide.

Document Type: Article
Funder compliance: info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/EC/FP7/211384
Additional Information: WOS:000322491100029
Keywords: Jelly-POM
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-CH Chemical Oceanography
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-BM Biogeochemical Modeling
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.4319/lo.2013.58.3.1113
ISSN: 0024-3590
Projects: EPOCA, BIOACID, Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 21 May 2013 09:53
Last Modified: 22 May 2016 23:38
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/21291

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