A nitrogen budget for the continental margin of the Peruvian oxygen minimum zone

Dengler, Marcus, Bryan, Lee, Sommer, Stefan, Bourbonnais, Annie, Dullo, Christian and Dale, Andrew W. (2015) A nitrogen budget for the continental margin of the Peruvian oxygen minimum zone [Poster] In: EGU General Assembly 2015, 12.–17.04.2015 , Vienna, Austria.

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In oxic environments, nitrogen (N) is frequently a limiting nutrient for primary production and hence a controlling
element in marine ecosystems. The fixed form of N, i.e. bioavailable N for primary production, is primarily in
the oxidized form of nitrate (NO3-). However, in the sub-oxic environments of oxygen minimum zones (OMZs),
N-species are biochemically converted to biogenic N2 gas which is then released, or lost, to the atmosphere.
N-cycling under sub-oxic conditions thus diminishes the oceanic pool of bioavailable N. It has been suggested
that although OMZs constitute only about 1% of global ocean volume, they account for about 20-40% of global
oceanic N loss. However, to date these estimates are subject to largely uncertainties.
Here, we quantify the rate of N-cycling and the associated N-loss by evaluating all terms of a benthic-pelagic
nutrient transport budget at the continental margin off Peru using observations from an extensive measurement
program conducted along the continental slope and shelf region at 12°S. The data set was collected during austral
summer in 2013 and consists of nutrient, microstructure and CTD/O 2
profiles as well as shipboard velocity data
from two research cruises, a glider swarm experiment and current time series from a moored array. To constrain
the benthic contribution to the nutrient budget, benthic nutrient fluxes were measured in benthic chambers using
Biogeochemical Observatory (BIGO) landers.
Detailed budget determinations were performed on the upper continental slope and shelf break as well as at
the shelf. Both regions were anoxic but different with regard to nutrient distribution as well as benthic nutrient
release rates. Three major conclusions can be inferred from the study: (1) Unexpectedly, the results showed that
diapycnal nutrient fluxes, driven by turbulent mixing caused by the breaking of non-linear internal waves, was
one to two orders of magnitude larger than advective and lateral-diffusive fluxes. (2) The relative contribution
of benthic nutrient fluxes to nutrient cycling was between 30% and 50%. (3) Nitrogen conversion rates on the
shelf (50m-100m water depth) were an order of magnitude larger that at the continental slope (200m-300m
water depth). The strong differences in the magnitude of the nutrient cycling rates most likely originate from the
presence of sulfidic bottom waters that were observed on the shelf

Document Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Keywords: Nitrpgen Budget; Peruvian; oxygen minimum zone
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-MG Marine Geosystems
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-PO Physical Oceanography
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-P-OZ Paleo-Oceanography
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2016 10:25
Last Modified: 04 Jan 2016 10:25
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/30730

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