The biogeochemical silicon cycle in the Southern Ocean tracked by isotopic approaches

Abstract : Southern Ocean biogeochemistry plays a crucial role on global marine primary production by impacting the nutrient availability even in low latitude surface water. Variations in the silicon (Si) cycle are large and its coupling to other nutrient biogeochemical cycles is still not well understood in this ocean. Results of two different isotopic approaches suggested that a strong silicon pump was quickly initiated in spring by a switch from regenerated to new biogenic silica production. The seasonal evolution of natural Si isotopic composition (δ30Si) was mainly driven by the balance between the “dissolution to production” and “Si-supply to Si-uptake” ratios that decoupled the isotopic dynamics of particulate and dissolved Si-pools (DSi and BSi, repectively). We also used δ30Si measurements to track seasonal flows of BSi to the deep sea with. These results confirmed that the δ30Si is well preserved during particles settling. The seasonal evolution of δ30Si signal allows for the first time to quantify important features about the processes controlling the diatoms’ productivity and its fate, such as mixing events that bring nutrient in the ML or the seasonal evolution of particles sinking velocities. These insights confirm that the δ30Si of DSi and BSi, combined to isotopic technics to measure Si fluxes in the ML, are promising tools to improve our understanding on the Si-biogeochemical cycle and provide new constraints for application to biogeochemical models.
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Ivia Closset. The biogeochemical silicon cycle in the Southern Ocean tracked by isotopic approaches. Geochemistry. Université Pierre et Marie Curie - Paris VI, 2015. English. ⟨NNT : 2015PA066124⟩. ⟨tel-01182436v2⟩

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