Virginia Institute of Marine Science
JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-OCEANS
Dinitrogen (N-2) fixation and dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) release rates were measured on fractionated samples (>10 mu m and m) along 24.5 degrees N in the subtropical North Atlantic. Net N-2 fixation rates (N-2 assimilation into biomass) ranged from 0.01 to 0.4 nmol N L-1 h(-1), and DON release rates ranged from 0.001 to 0.09 nmol N L-1 h(-1). DON release represented approximate to 14% and approximate to 23% of >10 mu m and (assimilation into biomass plus DON release), respectively. This implies that by overlooking DON release, N-2 fixation rates are underestimated. Net N-2 fixation rates were higher in the east and decreased significantly toward the west (r(s)=-0.487, p=0.002, and r(s)=-0.496, p=0.001, for the >10 mu m and fractions, respectively). The sum of both fractions correlated with aerosol optical depth at 550 nm (AOD 550 nm) (r(s)=0.382, p=0.017) and phosphate (PO43-) concentrations (r(s)=0.453, p=0.018), suggesting an enhancement of diazotrophy as a response to aerosol inputs and phosphorus availability. In contrast, DON release was constant among size fractions and did not correlate with any of these variables. We also compared N-2 fixation rates obtained using the N-15(2) dissolved and bubble methods. The first gave average rates 50% (49% 39) higher than the latter, which supports the finding that previously published N-2 fixation rates are likely underestimated. We suggest that by combining N-2 fixation and DON release measurements using dissolved N-15(2), global N-2 fixation rates could increase enough to balance oceanic fixed nitrogen budget disequilibria.
diazotrophy; DON release; dissolved N-15(2); unicellular diazotrophs; Saharan dust
Benavides, Mar; Bronk, Deborah A.; Agawin, Nona S.R.; Perez-Hernandez, M. Dolores; Hernandez-Guerra, Alonso; and Aristegui, Javier, Longitudinal variability of size-fractionated N-2 fixation and DON release rates along 24.5 degrees N in the subtropical North Atlantic (2013). JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-OCEANS, 118, 3406-3415.