The impact of submarine hydrothermal systems on organic carbon in the ocean—one of the largest fixed carbon reservoirs on Earth—could be profound. Yet, different vent sites show diverse fluid chemical compositions and the subsequent biological responses. Observations from various vent sites are to evaluate hydrothermal systems' impact on the ocean carbon cycle. A response cruise in May 2009 to an on‐going submarine eruption at West Mata Volcano, northeast Lau Basin, provided an opportunity to quantify the organic matter production in a back‐arc spreading hydrothermal system. Hydrothermal vent fluids contained elevated dissolved organic carbon, particulate organic carbon (POC), and particulate nitrogen (PN) relative to background seawater. The δ13C‐POC values for suspended particles in the diffuse vent fluids (−15.5‰ and −12.3‰) are distinct from those in background seawater (−23 ± 1‰), indicative of unique carbon synthesis pathways of the vent microbes from the seawater counterparts. The first dissolved organic nitrogen concentrations reported for diffuse vents were similar to or higher than those for background seawater. Enhanced nitrogen fixation and denitrification removed 37%–89% of the total dissolved nitrogen in the recharging background seawater in the hydrothermal vent flow paths. The hydrothermal plume samples were enriched in POC and PN, indicating enhanced biological production. The total “dark” organic carbon production within the plume matches the thermodynamic prediction based on available reducing chemical substances supplied to the plume. This research combines the measured organic carbon contents with thermodynamic modeled results and demonstrates the importance of hydrothermal activities on the water column carbon production in the deep ocean.
A chemoautotrophy maximum is present in many anoxic basins at the sulfidic layer's upper boundary, but the factors controlling this feature are poorly understood. In 13 of 31 cruises to the Cariaco Basin, particulate organic carbon (POC) was enriched in13C (δ13CPOCas high as −16‰) within the oxic/sulfidic transition compared to photic zone values (−23 to −26‰). During “heavy” cruises, fluxes of O2and [NO3−+ NO2−] to the oxic/sulfidic interface were significantly lower than during “light” cruises. Cruises with isotopically heavy POC were more common between 2013 and 2015 when suspended particles below the photic zone tended to be nitrogen rich compared to later cruises. Within the chemoautotrophic layer, nitrogen‐rich particles (molar ratio C/N< 10) were more likely to be13C‐enriched than nitrogen‐poor particles, implying that these inventories were dominated by living cells and fresh detritus rather than laterally transported or extensively decomposed detritus. During heavy cruises,13C enrichments persisted to 1,300 m, providing the first evidence of downward transport of chemoautotrophically produced POC. Dissolved inorganic carbon assimilation during heavy cruises (
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Publisher / Repository:
- DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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Two oceanographic cruises were completed in September 2016 and August 2017 to investigate the distribution of particulate organic matter (POM) across the northeast Chukchi Shelf. Both periods were characterized by highly stratified conditions, with major contrasts in the distribution of regional water masses that impacted POM distributions. Overall, surface waters were characterized by low chlorophyll fluorescence (Chl Fl < 0.8 mg m−3) and particle beam attenuation (
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