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Basin-wide N2 fixation in the deep waters of the Mediterranean Sea

AuthorsBenavides, Mar; Martínez-Pérez, Alba María; Nieto-Cid, Mar ; Álvarez-Salgado, Xosé Antón ; Gasol, Josep M. ; Arístegui, Javier
Issue DateJun-2016
PublisherAmerican Geophysical Union
CitationGlobal Biogeochemical Cycles 30(6): 952-961 (2016)
AbstractRecent findings indicate that N2 fixation is significant in aphotic waters, presumably due to heterotrophic diazotrophs depending on organic matter for their nutrition. However, the relationship between organic matter and heterotrophic N2 fixation remains unknown. Here we explore N2 fixation in the deep chlorophyll maximum and underneath deep waters across the whole Mediterranean Sea and relate it to organic matter composition, characterized by optical and molecular methods. Our N2 fixation rates were in the range of those previously reported for the euphotic zone of the Mediterranean Sea (up to 0.43 nmol N L−1 d−1) and were significantly correlated to the presence of relatively labile organic matter with fluorescence and molecular formula properties representative for peptides and unsaturated aliphatics and associated with the presence of more oxygenated ventilated water masses. Finally, and despite that the aphotic N2 fixation contributes largely to total water column diazotrophic activity (>50%), its contribution to overall nitrogen inputs to the basin is negligible (<0.5%)
DescriptionBenavides, Mar... et al.-- 10 pages, 2 figures, 2 tables, supporting information https://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2015GB005326
Publisher version (URL)https://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2015GB005326
Identifiersdoi: 10.1002/2015GB005326
issn: 0886-6236
e-issn: 1944-9224
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