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  1. Abstract Tropical islands are simultaneously some of the most biodiverse and vulnerable places on Earth. Water resources help maintain the delicate balance on which the ecosystems and the population of tropical islands rely. Hydrogen and oxygen isotope analyses are a powerful tool in the study of the water cycle on tropical islands, although the scarcity of long-term and high-frequency data makes interpretation challenging. Here, a new dataset is presented based on weekly collection of rainfall H and O isotopic composition on the island of O‘ahu, Hawai‘i, beginning from July 2019 and still ongoing. The data show considerable differences in isotopic ratios produced by different weather systems, with Kona lows and upper-level lows having the lowest δ 2 H and δ 18 O values, and trade-wind showers the highest. The data also show significant spatial variability, with some sites being characterized by higher isotope ratios than others. The amount effect is not observed consistently at all sites. Deuterium excess shows a marked seasonal cycle, which is attributed to the different origin and history of the air masses that are responsible for rainfall in the winter and summer months. The local meteoric water line and a comparison of this dataset with a long-term historical record illustrate strong interannual variability and the need to establish a long-term precipitation isotope monitoring network for Hawai‘i. Significance Statement The isotopic composition of water is often used in the study of island water resources, but the scarcity of high-frequency datasets makes the interpretation of data difficult. The purpose of this study is to investigate the isotopic composition of rainfall on a mountainous island in the subtropics. Based on weekly data collection on O‘ahu, Hawai‘i, the results improve our understanding of the isotopic composition of rainfall due to different weather systems, like trade-wind showers or cold fronts, as well as its spatial and temporal variability. These results could inform the interpretation of data from other mountainous islands in similar climate zones. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2024
  2. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Trophic ecology of detrital-based food webs is still poorly understood. Abyssal plains depend entirely on detritus and are among the most understudied ecosystems, with deposit feeders dominating megafaunal communities. We used compound-specific stable isotope ratios of amino acids (CSIA-AA) to estimate the trophic position of three abundant species of deposit feeders collected from the abyssal plain of the Northeast Pacific (Station M; ~ 4000 m depth), and compared it to the trophic position of their gut contents and the surrounding sediments. Our results suggest that detritus forms the base of the food web and gut contents of deposit feeders have a trophic position consistent with primary consumers and are largely composed of a living biomass of heterotrophic prokaryotes. Subsequently, deposit feeders are a trophic level above their gut contents making them secondary consumers of detritus on the abyssal plain. Based on δ 13 C values of essential amino acids, we found that gut contents of deposit feeders are distinct from the surrounding surface detritus and form a unique food source, which was assimilated by the deposit feeders primarily in periods of low food supply. Overall, our results show that the guts of deposit feeders constitute hotspots of organic matter on the abyssal plain that occupy one trophic level above detritus, increasing the food-chain length in this detritus-based ecosystem. 
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  3. Abstract

    A quantitative understanding of the mesopelagic zooplankton food web is key to development of accurate carbon budgets and geochemical models in marine systems. Here we use compound specific nitrogen stable isotope analysis of amino acids to quantify the trophic structure of the microzooplankton and mesozooplankton community during summer in the subarctic northeast Pacific Ocean during the EXport Processes in the Ocean from Remote Sensing (EXPORTS) field campaign. Source amino acid values in particles and zooplankton provide strong evidence that basal resources for the mesopelagic zooplankton food web were primarily small (), suspended or slow‐sinking particles, but that surface organic matter delivered by vertically migrating zooplankton may have also been important. Comparisons of values of source and trophic amino acids provide estimates of food web length, which decrease significantly with depth and suggest that protistan microzooplankton are key components of the food web from the surface to at least 500. These results emphasize the importance of small particles as a source of carbon and nitrogen to mesopelagic communities in this region, support observations of an inverse relationship between zooplankton vertical migration and small particles as sources of carbon to deep‐sea food webs in low productivity environments, and document the role of heterotrophic protists as key trophic intermediaries in the mesopelagic zone at this location.

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  4. Abstract

    Particulate organic matter settling out of the euphotic zone is a major sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide and serves as a primary food source to mesopelagic food webs. Degradation of this organic matter encompasses a suite of mechanisms that attenuate flux, including heterotrophic metabolic processes of microbes and metazoans. The relative contributions of microbial and metazoan heterotrophy to flux attenuation, however, have been difficult to determine. We present results of compound specific nitrogen isotope analysis of amino acids of sinking particles from sediment traps and size‐fractionated particles from in situ filtration between the surface and 500 m at Ocean Station Papa, collected during NASA EXPORTS (EXport Processes in the Ocean from RemoTe Sensing). With increasing depth, we observe: (1) that, based on theδ15N values of threonine, fecal pellets dominate the sinking particle flux and that attenuation of downward particle flux occurs largely via disaggregation in the upper mesopelagic; (2) an increasing trophic position of particles in the upper water column, reflecting increasing heterotrophic contributions to the nitrogen pool and the loss of particles via remineralization; and (3) increasingδ15N values of source amino acids in submicron and small (1–6μm) particles, reflecting microbial particle solubilization. We further employ a Bayesian mixing model to estimate the relative proportions of fecal pellets, phytodetritus, and microbially degraded material in particles and compare these results and our interpretations of flux attenuation mechanisms to other, independent methods used during EXPORTS.

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  5. Mercury isotopic compositions of amphipods and snailfish from deep-sea trenches reveal information on the sources and transformations of mercury in the deep oceans. Evidence for methyl-mercury subjected to photochemical degradation in the photic zone is provided by odd-mass independent isotope values (Δ199Hg) in amphipods from the Kermadec Trench, which average 1.57‰ (±0.14,n= 12, SD), and amphipods from the Mariana Trench, which average 1.49‰ (±0.28,n= 13). These values are close to the average value of 1.48‰ (±0.34,n= 10) for methyl-mercury in fish that feed at ∼500-m depth in the central Pacific Ocean. Evidence for variable contributions of mercury from rainfall is provided by even-mass independent isotope values (Δ200Hg) in amphipods that average 0.03‰ (±0.02,n= 12) for the Kermadec and 0.07‰ (±0.01,n= 13) for the Mariana Trench compared to the rainfall average of 0.13 (±0.05,n= 8) in the central Pacific. Mass-dependent isotope values (δ202Hg) are elevated in amphipods from the Kermadec Trench (0.91 ±0.22‰,n= 12) compared to the Mariana Trench (0.26 ±0.23‰,n= 13), suggesting a higher level of microbial demethylation of the methyl-mercury pool before incorporation into the base of the foodweb. Our study suggests that mercury in the marine foodweb at ∼500 m, which is predominantly anthropogenic, is transported to deep-sea trenches primarily in carrion, and then incorporated into hadal (6,000-11,000-m) food webs. Anthropogenic Hg added to the surface ocean is, therefore, expected to be rapidly transported to the deepest reaches of the oceans.

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  6. The fate of organic matter (OM) in the deep ocean remains enigmatic, with little understood regarding the flux and its utilization by deep food webs. We used compound-specific nitrogen stable isotope ratios of source amino acids measured in particle size classes and deep zooplankton (700–1500 m) to determine the contribution of small (0.7–53 μm) vs. large particles (> 53 μm) to their diet at four sites in the North Pacific. Our results show that small particles constitute between 9% and 98% of zooplankton diets, being the contribution higher at sites with lower flux regimes. The contribution of small particles to the diet of deep zooplankton was also higher when biomass of vertical migrators, and therefore actively transported OM, was lower. Climate-driven changes in primary production and export are expected to shift particle fluxes to smaller size classes, and thus their importance in midwater food webs may become more widespread. 
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  7. Abstract

    Zooplankton contribute a major component of the vertical flux of particulate organic matter to the ocean interior by packaging consumed food and waste into large, dense fecal pellets that sink quickly. Existing methods for quantifying the contribution of fecal pellets to particulate organic matter use either visual identification or lipid biomarkers, but these methods may exclude fecal material that is not morphologically distinct, or may include zooplankton carcasses in addition to fecal pellets. Based on results from seven pairs of wild‐caught zooplankton and their fecal pellets, we assess the ability of compound‐specific isotope analysis of amino acids (CSIA‐AA) to chemically distinguish fecal pellets as an end‐member material within particulate organic matter. Nitrogen CSIA‐AA is an improvement on previous uses of bulk stable isotope ratios, which cannot distinguish between differences in baseline isotope ratios and fractionation due to metabolic processing. We suggest that the relative trophic position of zooplankton and their fecal pellets, as calculated using CSIA‐AA, can provide a metric for estimating the dietary absorption efficiency of zooplankton. Using this metric, the zooplankton examined here had widely ranging dietary absorption efficiencies, where lower dietary absorption may equate to higher proportions of fecal packaging of undigested material. The nitrogen isotope ratios of threonine and alanine statistically distinguished the zooplankton fecal pellets from literature‐derived examples of phytoplankton, zooplankton biomass, and microbially degraded organic matter. We suggest that δ15N values of threonine and alanine could be used in mixing models to quantify the contribution of fecal pellets to particulate organic matter.

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  8. Abstract

    The project captured a subset of the hydrological cycle for the tropical island of O'ahu, linking precipitation to groundwater recharge and aquifer storage. We determined seasonal storm events contributed more to aquifer recharge than year‐round baseline orographic trade wind rainfall. Hydrogen and oxygen isotope values from an island‐wide rain collector network with 20 locations deployed for 16 months and sampled at 3‐month intervals were used to create the first local meteoric water line for O'ahu. Isotopic measurements were influenced by the amount effect, seasonality, storm type, and La Niña, though little elevation control was noted. Certain groundwater compositions from legacy data showed a strong similarity with collected precipitation from our stations. The majority of these significant relationships were between wet season precipitation and groundwater. A high number of moderate and heavy rainfall days during the dry season, large percentage of event‐based rainfall, and wind directions outside of the typical NE trade wind direction were characteristics of the 2017–2018 wet season. This indicates that the majority of wet season precipitation is from event‐based storms rather than typical trade wind weather. The deuterium‐excess values provided the strongest evidence of a relationship between groundwater and different precipitation sources, indicating that this may be a useful metric for determining the extent of recharge from different rain events and systems.

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