Both respiration and photosynthesis determine the scaling of plankton metabolism in the oligotrophic ocean

Serret, Pablo, Robinson, Carol ORCID:, Aranguren-Gassis, Maria, Garcia-Martin, E. Elena, Gist, Niki, Kitidis, Vassilis, Lozano, Jose, Stephens, John, Harris, Carolyn and Thomas, Rob (2015) Both respiration and photosynthesis determine the scaling of plankton metabolism in the oligotrophic ocean. Nature Communications, 6. ISSN 2041-1723

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Despite its importance to ocean–climate interactions, the metabolic state of the oligotrophic ocean has remained controversial for >15 years. Positions in the debate are that it is either hetero- or autotrophic, which suggests either substantial unaccounted for organic matter inputs, or that all available photosynthesis (P) estimations (including 14C) are biased. Here we show the existence of systematic differences in the metabolic state of the North (heterotrophic) and South (autotrophic) Atlantic oligotrophic gyres, resulting from differences in both P and respiration (R). The oligotrophic ocean is neither auto- nor heterotrophic, but functionally diverse. Our results show that the scaling of plankton metabolism by generalized P:R relationships that has sustained the debate is biased, and indicate that the variability of R, and not only of P, needs to be considered in regional estimations of the ocean’s metabolic state.

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Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
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Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2015 22:24
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2022 00:52
DOI: 10.1038/ncomms7961

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