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Award ID contains: 2020878

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  1. Abstract

    The cycling of marine particulate matter is critical for sequestering carbon in the deep ocean and in marine sediments. Biogenic minerals such as calcium carbonate (CaCO3) and opal add density to more buoyant organic material, facilitating particle sinking and export. Here, we compile and analyze a global data set of particulate organic carbon (POC), particulate inorganic carbon (PIC, or CaCO3), and biogenic silica (bSi, or opal) concentrations collected using large volume pumps (LVPs). We analyze the distribution of all three biogenic phases in the small (1–53 μm) and large (>53 μm) size classes. Over the entire water column 76% of POC exists in the small size fraction. Similarly, the small size class contains 82% of PIC, indicating the importance of small‐sized coccolithophores to the PIC budget of the ocean. In contrast, 50% of bSi exists in the large size fraction, reflecting the larger size of diatoms and radiolarians compared with coccolithophores. We use PIC:POC and bSi:POC ratios in the upper ocean to document a consistent signal of shallow mineral dissolution, likely linked to biologically mediated processes. Sediment trap PIC:POC and bSi:POC are elevated with respect to LVP samples and increase strongly with depth, indicating the concentration of mineral phases and/or a deficit of POC in large sinking particles. We suggest that future sampling campaigns pair LVPs with sediment traps to capture the full particulate field, especially the large aggregates that contribute to mineral‐rich deep ocean fluxes, and may be missed by LVPs.

     
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