Nutrient co-limitation at the boundary of an oceanic gyre.

Browning, Thomas J., Achterberg, Eric P. , Rapp, Insa, Engel, Anja , Bertrand, Erin M., Tagliabue, Alessandro and Moore, C. Mark (2017) Nutrient co-limitation at the boundary of an oceanic gyre. Nature, 551 (7679). pp. 242-246. DOI 10.1038/nature24063.

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Abstract

Nutrient limitation of oceanic primary production exerts a fundamental control on marine food webs and the flux of carbon into the deep ocean1. The extensive boundaries of the oligotrophic sub-tropical gyres collectively define the most extreme transition in ocean productivity, but little is known about nutrient limitation in these zones1, 2, 3, 4. Here we present the results of full-factorial nutrient amendment experiments conducted at the eastern boundary of the South Atlantic gyre. We find extensive regions in which the addition of nitrogen or iron individually resulted in no significant phytoplankton growth over 48 hours. However, the addition of both nitrogen and iron increased concentrations of chlorophyll a by up to approximately 40-fold, led to diatom proliferation, and reduced community diversity. Once nitrogen–iron co-limitation had been alleviated, the addition of cobalt or cobalt-containing vitamin B12 could further enhance chlorophyll a yields by up to threefold. Our results suggest that nitrogen–iron co-limitation is pervasive in the ocean, with other micronutrients also approaching co-deficiency. Such multi-nutrient limitations potentially increase phytoplankton community diversity.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Bacillariophyta, nutrient limitation, South Atlantic gyre
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-BI Biological Oceanography
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-CH Chemical Oceanography
Kiel University
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1038/nature24063
ISSN: 0028-0836
Projects: OCEAN-CERTAIN, GEOTRACES, OceanLiNES
Expeditions/Models/Experiments:
Date Deposited: 02 Nov 2017 08:47
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2019 15:08
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/40036

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