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EARTH SCIENCE | BIOSPHERE | ECOLOGICAL DYNAMICS | ECOSYSTEM FUNCTIONS | BIOGEOCHEMICAL CYCLES

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  • We compare the formulation and emergent dynamics of 11 CMIP6 IPCC marine biogeochemical models. We find that the largest source of uncertainty across model simulations of marine carbon cycling is grazing pressure (i.e. the phytoplankton specific loss rate to grazing). Variability in grazing pressure is driven by large differences in zooplankton specific grazing rates, which are not sufficiently compensated for by offsetting differences in zooplankton specific mortality rates. Models instead must tune the turnover rate of the phytoplankton population to balance large differences in top-down grazing pressure and constrain net primary production. We then run a controlled sensitivity experiment in a global, coupled ocean-biogeochemistry model to test the sensitivity of marine carbon cycling to this uncertainty and find that even when tuned to identical net primary production, export and secondary production remain extremely sensitive to grazing, likely biasing predictions of future climate states and food security.

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    Biological ocean data collected from ships find reuse in aggregations of historical data. These data are heavily relied upon to document long term change, validate satellite algorithms for ocean biology and are useful in assessing the performance of autonomous platforms and biogeochemical models. There is a need to combine subsurface biological and physical data into one aggregate data product to support reproducible research. Existing aggregate products are dissimilar in source data, have largely been isolated to the surface ocean and most omit physical data. These products cannot easily be used to explore subsurface bio-physical relationships. We present the first version of a biological ocean data reformatting effort (BIO-MATE, https://gitlab.com/KBaldry/BIO-MATE). BIO-MATE uses R software that reformats openly sourced published datasets from oceanographic voyages. These reformatted biological and physical data from underway sensors, profiling sensors and pigments analysis are stored in an interoperable and reproducible BIO-MATE data product for easy access and use.

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    Thorium-234 samples were collected to determine the particulate organic carbon (POC) export fluxes in two East Antarctica polynyas, Dalton and Mertz. The samples were collected along the water column using the CTD deployed at several stations. The seawater Th-234 data was used in combination with POC:234Th ratios obtained from particulate samples collected using in situ pumps in order to derive the POC fluxes. This record describes Th-234 and U-238_data: sample ID, depth, CTD file, station ID, latitude and longitude, Th-234 concentration and its uncertainty, U-238 concentration and its uncertainty. See linked record for associated POC data from Aurora Australis Voyage 2 2016/17.

  • To investigate how the unavoidable physical and chemical perturbations associated with Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement (OAE) could influence marine plankton communities and how potential side-effects compare to impacts of climate change, we conducted 19 ship-based experiments in the Equatorial Pacific, examining three prevalent OAE source (NaOH, olivine, and steel slag) and their impacts on natural phytoplankton populations. Our experiments simulated realistic and moderate alkalinity enhancements between 29-16 μmol kg-1. The monitored parameters included total chlorophyll-a concentrations, macro nutrients, trace elements, total alkalinity, Fv/Fm, pH,and flowcytometry.

  • This record presents data used in the paper 'Controls on polar Southern Ocean deep chlorophyll maxima: viewpoints from multiple observational platforms,' Philip W Boyd 𝘦𝘵. 𝘢𝘭., submitted to Global Biogeochemical Cycles, November 2023. All methods for the following datasets are detailed and cross-referenced in the paper. Data were collected from a range of methods, including: • vertical profiles (from 1 m resolved profiling using sensors on a CTD rosette: temperature, salinity, chlorophyll fluorescence, transmissivity - all calibrated) • vertical profiles (from discrete samples collected from CTD rosette or trace metal clean rosette, for nutrients, chlorophyll, POC, dissolved and particulate iron, active fluorescence, net primary productivity, biological iron uptake) • tow-body sections (undulating tow body (Triaxus) for temperature, salinity, chlorophyll fluorescence, transmissivity (and the ratio of chlorophyll fluorescence, transmissivity) • time-series observations from a robotic profiling float (BGC-ARGO) for temperature, salinity, chlorophyll fluorescence, and transmissivity).

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    Phytoplankton indirectly influence climate through their role in the ocean biological carbon pump. In the Southern Ocean, the subantarctic zone represents an important carbon sink, yet variables limiting phytoplankton growth are not fully constrained. Using three shipboard bioassay experiments on three separate voyages, we evaluated the seasonality of iron (Fe) and manganese (Mn) co-limitation of subantarctic phytoplankton growth south of Tasmania, Australia. We observed a strong seasonal variation in a phytoplankton Fe limitation signal, with a summer experiment showing the greatest response to Fe additions. An autumn experiment suggested that other factors co-limited phytoplankton growth, likely low silicic acid concentrations. The phytoplankton responses to Mn additions were subtle and readily masked by the responses to Fe. Using flow cytometry, we observed that Mn may influence the growth of some small phytoplankton taxa in late summer/autumn, when they represent an important part of the phytoplankton community. In addition, Mn induced changes in the bulk photophysiology signal of the spring community. These results suggest that the importance of Mn may vary seasonally, and that its control on phytoplankton growth may be associated with specific taxa.

  • The aim of the project was to determine the particulate organic carbon concentration in coastal polynyas and off-shelf sites south of the Polar Front. Data is collected from the CTD deployed at various stations. This record descripbes three datafiles. (1) POC_data: station, pressure, temperature, conductivity, salinity, PAR, total beam attenuation coefficients (c), attenuation by particles (cp), site, particulate organic carbon concentration (from optical measurements), rho, longitude and latitude. (2) Ammonium: station, pressure, site, ammonium, latitude, longitude (3) POC_PON_ratio: site, depth, particulate organic carbon concentration (measured) particulate organic nitrogen concentration (measured), C:N ratio.

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    Southern Ocean phytoplankton growth is limited by low iron (Fe) supply and irradiance, impacting the strength of the biological carbon pump. Unfavourable upper ocean conditions such as low nutrient concentrations can lead to the formation of deep chlorophyll or biomass maxima (DCM/DBM). While common in the Southern Ocean, these features remain under-studied due to their subsurface location. To increase our understanding of their occurrence, we studied the responses of phytoplankton communities from a Southern Ocean DCM to increasing light, Fe, and manganese (Mn) levels. The DCM communities were light- and Fe-limited, but light limitation did not increase phytoplankton Fe requirements. The greatest physiological responses were observed under combined Fe/light additions, which stimulated macronutrient drawdown, biomass production and the growth of large diatoms. Combined Mn/light additions induced subtle changes in Fe uptake rates and community composition, suggesting species-specific Mn requirements. These results provide valuable information on Southern Ocean DCM phytoplankton physiology.