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  1. The index of refraction (n) of particles is an important parameter in optical models that aims to extract particle size and carbon concentrations from light scattering measurements. An inadequate choice ofncan critically affect the characterization and interpretation of optically-derived parameters, including those from satellite-based models which provide the current view of how biogeochemical processes vary over the global ocean. Yet, little is known about hownvaries over time and space to inform such models. Particularly, in situ estimates ofnfor bulk water samples and at diel-resolving time scales are rare. Here, we demonstrate a method to estimatenusing simultaneously and independently collected particulate beam attenuation coefficients, particle size distribution data, and a Mie theory model. We apply this method to surface waters of the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre (NPSG) at hourly resolution. Clear diel cycles innwere observed, marked by minima around local sunrise and maxima around sunset, qualitatively consistent with several laboratory-based estimates ofnfor specific phytoplankton species. A sensitivity analysis showed that the daily oscillation innamplitude was somewhat insensitive to broad variations in method assumptions, ranging from 11.3 ± 4.3% to 16.9 ± 2.9%. Such estimates are crucial for improvement of algorithms that extract the particle size and production from bulk optical measurements, and could potentially help establish a link betweennvariations and changes in cellular composition of in situ particles.

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  2. Abstract

    A budget approach is used to disentangle drivers of the seasonal mixed layer carbon cycle at Station ALOHA (A Long‐term Oligotrophic Habitat Assessment) in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre (NPSG). The budget utilizes data from the WHOTS (Woods Hole—Hawaii Ocean Time‐series Site) mooring, and the ship‐based Hawai'i Ocean Time‐series (HOT) in the NPSG, a region of significant oceanic carbon uptake. Parsing the carbon variations into process components allows an assessment of both the proportional contributions of mixed layer carbon drivers and the seasonal interplay of drawdown and supply from different processes. Annual net community production reported here is at the lower end of previously published data, while net community calcification estimates are 4‐ to 7‐fold higher than available sediment trap data, the only other estimate of calcium carbonate export at this location. Although the observed seasonal cycle in dissolved inorganic carbon in the NPSG has a relatively small amplitude, larger fluxes offset each other over an average year. Major supply comes from physical transport, especially lateral eddy transport throughout the year and entrainment in the winter, offset by biological carbon uptake in the spring. Gas exchange plays a smaller role, supplying carbon to the surface ocean between Dec‐May and outgassing in Jul‐Oct. Evaporation‐precipitation (E‐P) is variable with precipitation prevailing in the first half and evaporation in the second half of the year. The observed total alkalinity signal is largely governed by E‐P with a somewhat stronger net calcification signal in the wintertime.

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  3. Abstract

    N2 fixation constitutes an important new nitrogen source in the open sea. One group of filamentous N2 fixing cyanobacteria (Richelia intracellularis, hereafter Richelia) form symbiosis with a few genera of diatoms. High rates of N2 fixation and carbon (C) fixation have been measured in the presence of diatom-Richelia symbioses. However, it is unknown how partners coordinate C fixation and how the symbiont sustains high rates of N2 fixation. Here, both the N2 and C fixation in wild diatom-Richelia populations are reported. Inhibitor experiments designed to inhibit host photosynthesis, resulted in lower estimated growth and depressed C and N2 fixation, suggesting that despite the symbionts ability to fix their own C, they must still rely on their respective hosts for C. Single cell analysis indicated that up to 22% of assimilated C in the symbiont is derived from the host, whereas 78–91% of the host N is supplied from their symbionts. A size-dependent relationship is identified where larger cells have higher N2 and C fixation, and only N2 fixation was light dependent. Using the single cell measures, the N-rich phycosphere surrounding these symbioses was estimated and contributes directly and rapidly to the surface ocean rather than the mesopelagic, even at high estimated sinking velocities (<10 m d−1). Several eco-physiological parameters necessary for incorporating symbiotic N2 fixing populations into larger basin scale biogeochemical models (i.e., N and C cycles) are provided.

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  6. Abstract

    Persistent nitrogen depletion in sunlit open ocean waters provides a favorable ecological niche for nitrogen-fixing (diazotrophic) cyanobacteria, some of which associate symbiotically with eukaryotic algae. All known marine examples of these symbioses have involved either centric diatom or haptophyte hosts. We report here the discovery and characterization of two distinct marine pennate diatom-diazotroph symbioses, which until now had only been observed in freshwater environments. Rhopalodiaceae diatomsEpithemia pelagicasp. nov. andEpithemia catenatasp. nov. were isolated repeatedly from the subtropical North Pacific Ocean, and analysis of sequence libraries reveals a global distribution. These symbioses likely escaped attention because the endosymbionts lack fluorescent photopigments, havenifHgene sequences similar to those of free-living unicellular cyanobacteria, and are lost in nitrogen-replete medium. Marine Rhopalodiaceae-diazotroph symbioses are a previously overlooked but widespread source of bioavailable nitrogen in marine habitats and provide new, easily cultured model organisms for the study of organelle evolution.

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