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Title: Cycling Rates of Particulate Organic Carbon Along the GEOTRACES Pacific Meridional Transect GP15

Understanding particle cycling processes in the ocean is critical for predicting the response of the biological carbon pump to external perturbations. Here, measurements of particulate organic carbon (POC) concentration in two size fractions (1–51 and >51 μm) from GEOTRACES Pacific meridional transect GP15 are combined with a POC cycling model to estimate rates of POC production, (dis)aggregation, sinking, remineralization, and vertical transport mediated by migrating zooplankton, in the euphotic zone (EZ) and upper mesopelagic zone (UMZ) of distinct environments. We find coherent variations in POC cycling parameters and fluxes throughout the transect. Thus, the settling speed of POC in the >51 μm fraction increased with depth in the UMZ, presumably due to higher particle densities at depth. The settling flux of total POC (>1 μm) out of the EZ was positively correlated with primary production integrated over the EZ; the highest export occurred in the subarctic gyre while the lowest occurred in the subtropical gyres. The ratio of POC settling flux to integrated primary production was low (<5%) along GP15, which suggests an efficient recycling of POC in the EZ in all trophic regimes. Specific rates of POC remineralization did not show clear variations with temperature or dissolved oxygen concentration, that is, POC recycling was apparently controlled by other factors such as microbial colonization and substrate lability. Particle cohesiveness, as approximated by the second‐order rate constant for particle aggregation, was negatively correlated with trophic regime: particles appeared more cohesive in low‐productivity regions than in high‐productivity regions.

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Award ID(s):
1736601 1829614
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Global Biogeochemical Cycles
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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