Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Journal articles

Carbon and nitrogen uptake and export in the equatorial Pacific at 150øW: Evidence of an efficient regenerated production cycle

Abstract : Biomass, inorganic carbon and nitrogen uptake, ammonium regeneration, nitrification, and vertical flux of particulate matter were measured in the equatorial Pacific at 21 daily productivity stations occupied on a meridional transect (150øW) between iøN and 16øS. Three areas could be distinguished along the transect: (1) the equatorial area between IøN and 6øS, where nitrate concentrations were typically eutrophic, reaching up to 3/•g-at L-• in surface waters; (2) an intermediate mesotrophic area between 6 ø and 10øS, where surface nitrate concentrations decreased from 1 /•g-at L-• to zero; and (3) the oligotrophic area beyond 10øS, characterized by warm and nitrate poor waters. Although nitrate was the main form of inorganic nitrogen available for phytoplankton growth (70%-100% of total), its uptake was severely retarded in the equatorial sector. This lack of nitrate depletion in the equatorial sector between 0 and 6øS may in part result from the important ammonium supply (100 ng-at L-• d-1) which could sustain up to 85% of total inorganic nitrogen (nitrate + ammonium) utilization by phytoplankton. In addition, regenerated production also resulted from in situ nitrification (20-80 ng-atN L-• d-•) which can fuel 20%-100% of the nitrate uptake. Sinking particles represented <10% of total carbon fixation and-10%-50% of new production in terms of carbon and nitrogen. From these discrepancies it was suggested that (1) new production rates were overestimated because of the high level of nitrification that provided "regenerated nitrate" and (2) advection of dissolved organic carbon and nitrogen played an important role in export. The specific hydrodynamical circulation, a conveyor belt generated by upwelling at the equator and downwelling some degrees south, associated with biological in situ rcmineralization of ammonium and nitrate as well, appeared to be a very efficient system for recycling inorganic nitrogen in the euphotic layer and thus for supporting the high regenerated production levels. On the other hand, the high nitrate/silicate ratios (>1.5) observed in the upwelling waters seemed to indicate that silicate is not efficiently recycled in this specific circulation system because of its low regeneration rate as well as its sink via rapidly sedimenting diatoms cell walls; this may be also true for iron. This reinforces the idea of Si and/or Fe limitation which was put forward earlier to explain low new production levels in the equatorial Pacific.
Complete list of metadatas

Cited literature [76 references]  Display  Hide  Download
Contributor : Catherine Beaussier <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, July 10, 2019 - 11:47:17 AM
Last modification on : Monday, November 16, 2020 - 12:06:03 PM


Publisher files allowed on an open archive



Patrick Raimbault, Gerd Slawyk, Benyahia Boudjellal, Christine Coatanoan, Pascal Conan, et al.. Carbon and nitrogen uptake and export in the equatorial Pacific at 150øW: Evidence of an efficient regenerated production cycle. Journal of Geophysical Research, American Geophysical Union, 1999, 104 (C2), pp.3341 - 3356. ⟨10.1029/1998JC900004⟩. ⟨hal-02178936⟩



Record views


Files downloads