Substantial energy input to the mesopelagic ecosystem from the seasonal mixed-layer pump

Dall'Olmo, G; Dingle, J; Polimene, L; Brewin, RJW; Claustre, H. 2016 Substantial energy input to the mesopelagic ecosystem from the seasonal mixed-layer pump. Nature Geoscience, 9 (11). 820-823. 10.1038/ngeo2818

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The ocean region known as the mesopelagic zone, which is at depths of about 100–1,000 m, harbours one of the largest ecosystems and fish stocks on the planet. Life in this region is believed to rely on particulate organic carbon supplied by the biological carbon pump. Yet this supply appears insufficient to meet mesopelagic metabolic demands. An additional organic carbon source to the mesopelagic zone could be provided by the seasonal entrainment of surface waters in deeper layers, a process known as the mixed-layer pump. Little is known about the magnitude and spatial distribution of this process globally or its potential to transport carbon to the mesopelagic zone. Here we combine mixed-layer depth data from Argo floats with satellite estimates of particulate organic carbon concentrations to show that the mixed-layer pump supplies an important seasonal flux of organic carbon to the mesopelagic zone. We estimate that this process is responsible for a global flux of 0.1–0.5 Pg C yr−1. In high-latitude regions where the mixed layer is usually deep, this flux amounts on average to 23% of the carbon supplied by fast sinking particles, but it can be greater than 100%. We conclude that the seasonal mixed-layer pump is an important source of organic carbon for the mesopelagic zone.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Subjects: Earth Observation - Remote Sensing
Earth Sciences
Marine Sciences
Divisions: Plymouth Marine Laboratory > National Capability categories > National Centre for Earth Observation
Depositing User: Giorgio Dall'Olmo
Date made live: 08 Dec 2016 14:12
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2017 16:17

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