Studies in the Modern Ocean

CTD/hydrocast package descending into the Southern Ocean. Photo Kenemy

The CTD/hydrocast package descending into the Southern Ocean water column from the deck of the South African research icebreaker S.A. Agulhas II, sailing from Cape Town to the Antarctic winter ice edge. Photo: Preston Cosslett Kemeny ’15

 

References

13 Publications
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The cyclic growth and decay of continental ice sheets can be reconstructed from the history of global sea level. Sea level is relatively well constrained for the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, 26,500 to 19,000 y ago, 26.5 to 19 ka) and the ensuing deglaciation. However, sea-level estimates for the period of ice-sheet growth before the LGM vary by …

Salinity-driven density stratification of the upper Arctic Ocean isolates sea-ice cover and cold, nutrient-poor surface waters from underlying warmer, nutrient-rich waters. Recently, stratification has strengthened in the western Arctic but has weakened in the eastern Arctic; it is unknown if these trends will continue. Here we present…
Despite slow nutrient supply to the subtropical surface ocean, its rates of annual inorganic carbon drawdown and net oxygen production are similar to those of nutrient-rich high latitude waters. This surprisingly rapid carbon drawdown, if due to the production and export of marine biomass, cannot be explained in terms of known nutrient supply…
The fraction of phytoplankton growth that leads to the rain of organic carbon out of the sunlit surface ocean ("export production") is central to the ocean s sequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Nitrate assimilation has long been taken as a measure of export production; however, this has recently been questioned by suggestions that much of…
The Sargasso Sea is characterized by strong summertime stratification that is thought to drive oligotrophy, but export production is surprisingly similar to that of high-latitude regions with ample major nutrient supply. Here we use the summer-to-fall progression in the northwestern Sargasso Sea to investigate the relationship between upper ocean…
Phytoplankton growth is potentially limited by the scarcity of biologically available forms of nitrogen such as nitrate and ammonium. In the subtropical ocean gyres, water column stratification impedes the upward flux of nitrate to surface waters. Phytoplankton in these waters are assumed to rely largely on ammonium and other forms of nitrogen…
The nitrogen-isotope record preserved in Southern Ocean sediments, along with several geochemical tracers for the settling fluxes of biogenic matter, reveals patterns of past nutrient supply to phytoplankton and surface-water stratification in this oceanic region. Areal averaging of these spatial patterns indicates that reduction of the CO2 leak …
Roughly 240 million years ago (Ma), scleractinian corals rapidly expanded and diversified across shallow marine environments. The main driver behind this evolution is uncertain, but the ecological success of modern reefbuilding corals is attributed to their nutritional symbiosis with photosynthesizing dinoflagellate algae. We show that a suite of…
Ocean circulation supplies the surface ocean with the nutrients that fuel global ocean productivity. However, the mechanisms and rates of water and nutrient transport from the deep ocean to the upper ocean are poorly known. Here, we use the nitrogen isotopic composition of nitrate to place observational constraints on nutrient transport from the…
Both the nitrogen (N) isotopic composition (δ 15 N) of the nitrate source and the magnitude of isotope discrimination associated with nitrate assimilation are required to estimate the degree of past nitrate consumption from the δ 15 N of organic matter in Southern Ocean sediments (e.g., preserved within diatom microfossils). It has been suggested…
We report concentration and nitrogen and oxygen isotopic measurements of nitrate, total dissolved nitrogen, and particulate nitrogen from Antarctic landfast sea ice, covering almost the complete seasonal cycle of sea ice growth and decay (from April to November). When sea ice forms in autumn, ice algae growth depletes nitrate and accumulates…
We report nitrogen (N) isotopic measurements of nitrate, total dissolved nitrogen, and particulate nitrogen from Antarctic pack ice in early and late spring. Salinity-normalized concentrations of total fixed N are approximately twofold higher than in seawater, indicating that sea ice exchanges fixed N with seawater after its formation. The…

It is understood that the global mean ocean nitrate δ15N is set by the δ15N of the input of fixed nitrogen (N) to the ocean (mostly N2 fixation) and the net isotopic discrimination of fixed N loss (mostly denitrification). Here, we demonstrate that, in addition to the fixed nitrogen input/output budget, the isotopic discrimination of nitrate…