Studies in the Terrestrial Biosphere, the Atmosphere, and Ice Cores

Starting with the work of Ben Houlton, we have collaborated with the group of Lars Hedin in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in isotope studies of terrestrial N cycling. We have also worked on the nitrate N and O isotopes in rain, snow, and ice as tracers of reactive nitrogen sources and processing in the modern and ancient atmosphere.

References

220 Publications
Natural abundance-level measurement of the nitrogen isotopic composition of oceanic nitrate: An adaptation of the ammonia diffusion method
We have adapted the ammonia diffusion method of nitrate extraction for natural-abundance level nitrogen isotopic measurement of oceanic nitrate. The method involves: (1) sample concentration (by boiling or evaporation); (2) conversion of nitrate to ammonia using Devarda s alloy; and (3) the gas-phase diffusion of ammonia onto an acidified glass…
Influence of ocean heat transport on the climate of the Last Glacial Maximum
A aeries of climate simulations using on atmospheric general circulation modal shows that maintaining ocean heat transport at close to present-day values, but with otherwise glacial boundary conditions, leads to an enhanced cooling, particularly in the tropics. This is in agreement with recent geochemical evidence from fossil corals, ground waters…
Contribution of Southern Ocean surface-water stratification to low atmospheric CO2 concentrations during the last glacial period
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 …
Measuring 15N-NH4/+ in marine, estuarine and fresh waters: An adaptation of the ammonia diffusion method for samples with low ammonium concentrations
We present a method for measuring 15N-NH4+ in marine, estuarine and fresh waters. The advantage of this method is that it is broadly applicable to all types of water and it allows measurements in samples with lower ammonium concentrations than has previously been possible. The procedure is a modification of the ammonia diffusion method and uses…
Glacial/interglacial variations in production and nitrogen fixation in the Cariaco Basin during the last 580 kyr
The effect of sea level change on nutrient supply to the anoxic Cariaco demonstrates the fundamental importance of nitrogen (N2) fixation and phosphate to oceanic production. As N2 fixation produces biomass of low δ15N and has been reported to be an important component of the nitrogen cycle in the modern Cariaco Basin, we propose that it…
The calcite isyocline as a constraint on glacial/interglacial low-latitude production changes
We investigate the response of the calcite lysocline to changes in the export production of the low-latitude surface ocean (the combined equatorial, tropical, and subtroical regions). We employ different CaCO3 throughput schemes in a time-dependent ocean carbon cycle model to separate the CaCO3 production/iysocline balance from the other…
Deglacial changes in ocean circulation from an extended radiocarbon calibration
Temporal variations in the atmospheric concentration of radiocarbon sometimes result in radiocarbon-based age-estimates of biogenic material that do not agree with true calendar age. This problem is particularly severe beyond the limit of the high-resolution radiocarbon calibration based on tree-ring data, which stretches back only to about 11.8…
Onset of permanent stratification in the subarctic Pacific Ocean
The surface waters of the modern subarctic Pacific Ocean are isolated from the nutrient-rich waters below by a steep vertical gradient in salinity (halocline), a feature which is a dominant control on upper-ocean stratification in polar environments. The physical processes which maintain the halocline and, in turn, its physical, biological, and…
Nitrogen isotopic variations in the Gulf of California since the Last Deglaciation: Response to global climate change
High-resolution records of the nitrogen isotopic composition of organic matter (δ15Norg), opal content, and opal accumulation rates from the central Gulf of California reveal large and abrupt variations during deglaciation and gradual Holocene changes coincident with climatic changes recorded in the North Atlantic. Homogenous sediments with…
The nitrogen isotope biogeochemistry of sinking particles from the margin of the eastern North Pacific
The nitrogen isotopic composition of time-series sediment trap samples, dissolved NO3/-, and surficial sediments was determined in three regions along the margin of the eastern North Pacific: Monterey Bay, San Pedro Basin, and the Gulf of California (Carmen and Guaymas Basins). Complex physical regimes are present in all three areas, and each is…
The isotopic composition of diatom-bound nitrogen in Southern Ocean sediments
Treatment of diatom microfossils from Southern Ocean sediments with hot perchloric acid leaves a diatom-bound N fraction which is 0-4‰ lower in δ15N than the bulk sediment, typically 3‰ lower in recent Antarctic diatom ooze. Results from Southern Ocean surface sediments indicate that early diagenetic changes in bulk sediment N content and δ15N…
Glacial/interglacial variations in atmospheric carbon dioxide
Twenty years ago, measurements on ice cores showed that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was lower during the ice ages than it is today. As yet, there is no broadly accepted explanation for this difference. Current investigations focus on the ocean s biological pump , the sequestration of carbon in the ocean interior by the…
The δ15N of nitrate in the Southern Ocean: Nitrogen cycling and circulation in the ocean interior
We report analyses of the nitrogen isotopic composition of nitrate in the eastern Indian and Pacific sectors of the Southern Ocean. In this paper, we focus on the subsurface data as well as data from the deep waters of other ocean basins. Nitrate δ15N is relatively invariant in much of the abyssal ocean (i.e., below 2.5 km), with a value of 4.8±0…
Southward migration of the intertropical convergence zone through the holocene
Titanium and iron concentration data from the anoxic Cariaco Basin, off the Venezuelan coast, can be used to infer variations in the hydrological cycle over northern South America during the past 14,000 years with subdecadal resolution. Following a dry Younger Dryas, a period of increased precipitation and riverine discharge occurred during the…
Palaeoceanography: Antarctic stratification and glacial CO2
A bacterial method for the nitrogen isotopic analysis of nitrate in seawater and freshwater
We report a new method for measurement of the isotopic composition of nitrate (NO3-) at the natural-abundance level in both seawater and freshwater. The method is based on the isotopic analysis of nitrous oxide (N2O) generated from nitrate by denitrifying bacteria that lack N2O-reductase activity. The isotopic composition of both nitrogen and…
Measurement of the oxygen isotopic composition of nitrate in seawater and freshwater using the denitrifier method
We report a novel method for measurement of the oxygen isotopic composition (18O/16O) of nitrate (NO3-) from both seawater and freshwater. The denitrifier method, based on the isotope ratio analysis of nitrous oxide generated from sample nitrate by cultured denitrifying bacteria, has been described elsewhere for its use in nitrogen isotope ratio …
Stable isotope constraints on the nitrogen cycle of the Mediterranean Sea water column
We used the nitrogen isotope ratio of algae, suspended particles and nitrate in the water column to track spatial variations in the marine nitrogen cycle in the Mediterranean Sea. Surface PON (5-74 m) was more depleted in 15N in the eastern basin (-0.3±0.5‰) than in the western basin (+2.4±1.4‰), suggesting that nitrogen supplied by biological N2…
Dinitrogen fixation in the world s oceans
The surface water of the marine environment has traditionally been viewed as a nitrogen (N) limited habitat, and this has guided the development of conceptual biogeochemical models focusing largely on the reservoir of nitrate as the critical source of N to sustain primary productivity. However, selected groups of Bacteria, including cyanobacteria,…
CO2 effects on taxonomic composition and nutrient utilization in an Equatorial Pacific phytoplankton assemblage
We report the results of a field incubation experiment demonstrating a substantial shift in the taxonomic composition of Equatorial Pacific phytoplankton assemblages exposed to CO2 levels of 150 and 750 ppm (dissolved CO2 ∼3 to 25 μM). By the end of the experiment, the phytoplankton community in all samples was dominated by diatoms and Phaeocystis…