Isotope constraints on particulate nitrogen source and dynamics in the upper water column of the oligotrophic South China Sea
Yang, Jin-Yu Terence
- 海洋环境－已发表论文 
Particulate nitrogen (PN) dynamics in the oligotrophic northern South China Sea (around the SouthEast Asian Time-series Study (SEATS) station) was explored by examining the isotopic compositions of suspended PN in the top 200 m over 3 years and sinking PN collected by sediment traps. The PN inventory (IPN) in the upper 100 m is larger than in the lower 100 m, exhibiting stronger seasonality. Both layers reveal significant seasonality in mean delta N-15(PN), yet, the mean in the upper 100 m (2.0 to 5.3 parts per thousand) is consistently smaller than that in the lower 100 m, implying the occurrence of vertical biological fractionation and/or an addition of N-15-depleted N from the atmosphere. The delta N-15(PN) surges in winter, when the mixed layer is deeper, indicate an intensified nitrate supply from thermocline, during which relatively stronger downward transfer efficiency was inferred by a small IPN gradient. The largest vertical gradient in IPN appeared during intermonsoon periods, corresponding with weak vertical mixing, low delta N-15(PN), and high N* values. N fixation is likely the cause for the intermonsoon delta N-15(PN) lows. The delta N-15(PN) values of trapped material at 374 m and 447 m range from 3.3 to 7.3 parts per thousand with a flux-weighted mean of 5.6 parts per thousand resembling the delta(NO3)-N-15 of upwelled sources. By using a mass-isotope balance model under the assumption of no atmospheric N deposition, we obtained an N fixation input of similar to 20 +/- 26 mmol N m(-2) yr(-1). This value accounts for only similar to 5-10% of the new production on an annual basis.
CitationGLOBAL BIOGEOCHEMICAL CYCLES,2012,26