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Title: Low Molecular Weight Dissolved Organic Carbon: Aging, Compositional Changes, and Selective Utilization During Global Ocean Circulation

The composition and cycling dynamics of marine dissolved organic carbon (DOC) have received increased interest in recent years; however, little research has focused on the refractory, low molecular weight (LMW) component that makes up the majority of this massive C pool. We measured stable isotopic (δ13C), radioisotopic (Δ14C), and compositional (C/N,13C solid‐state NMR) properties of separately isolated high molecular weight (HMW) and LMW DOC fractions collected using a coupled ultrafiltration and solid phase extraction approach from throughout the water column in the North Central Pacific and Central North Atlantic. The selective isolation of LMW DOC material allowed the first investigation of the composition and cycling of a previously elusive fraction of the DOC pool. The structural composition of the LMW DOC material was homogeneous throughout the water column and closely matched carboxylic‐rich alicyclic material that has been proposed as a major component of the marine refractory DOC pool. Examination of offsets in the measured parameters between the deep waters of the two basins provides the first direct assessment of changes in the properties of this material with aging and utilization during ocean circulation. While our direct measurements largely confirm hypotheses regarding the relative recalcitrance of HMW and LMW DOC, we also demonstrate a number of novel observations regarding the removal and addition of DOC during global ocean circulation, including additions of fresh carbohydrate‐like HMW DOC to the deep ocean and large‐scale removal of both semilabile HMW and recalcitrant LMW DOC.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Global Biogeochemical Cycles
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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