A new perspective on environmental controls of marine nitrogen fixation

Landolfi, Angela, Koeve, Wolfgang, Dietze, Heiner, Kähler, Paul and Oschlies, Andreas (2015) A new perspective on environmental controls of marine nitrogen fixation Geophysical Research Letters, 42 (11). pp. 4482-4489. DOI 10.1002/2015GL063756.

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Growing slowly, marine N2 fixers are generally expected to be competitive only where nitrogen (N) supply is low relative to that of phosphorus (P) with respect to the cellular N:P ratio (R) of non-fixing phytoplankton. This is at odds with observed high N2 fixation rates in the oligotrophic North Atlantic where the ratio of nutrients supplied to the surface is elevated in N relative to the average R (16:1). In this study, we investigate several mechanisms to solve this puzzle: iron limitation, phosphorus enhancement by preferential remineralization or stoichiometric diversity of phytoplankton, and dissolved organic phosphorus (DOP) utilization. Combining resource competition theory and a global coupled ecosystem-circulation model we find that the additional N and energy investments required for exo-enzymatic break-down of DOP gives N2 fixers a competitive advantage in oligotrophic P-starved regions. Accounting for this mechanism expands the ecological niche of N2-fixers also to regions where the nutrient supply is high in N relative to R, yielding, in our model, a pattern consistent with the observed high N2-fixation rates in the oligotrophic North Atlantic.

Document Type: Article
Additional Information: WOS:000357511200029
Keywords: marine N2 fixation; marine biogeochemical modeling; phytoplankton coexistence; marine N cycle; North Atlantic
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-BM Biogeochemical Modeling
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence > FO-R05
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
OceanRep > SFB 754
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1002/2015GL063756
ISSN: 0094-8276
Related URLs:
Projects: SFB754, Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 22 May 2015 13:07
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2017 11:58
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/28814

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