February 28, 2007
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FROM VOLUME 5, NUMBER 10, OCTOBER 1992
MARINE PRODUCTIVITY AND FERTILIZATION
Special issue: "What Controls Phytoplankton Production in
Nutrient-Rich Areas of the Open Sea?" S.W. Chisholm, F.M.M. Morel, Eds.,
Limnol. Oceanog., 36(8), Dec. 1991. (Amer. Soc. Limnology &
Oceanography--ASLO, 810 E. 10th St., Lawrence KS 66044; 800-627-0629)
Contains 32 papers from an ASLO symposium (San Marcos, Calif., Feb. 1991)
attempting to explain through hypotheses or observations why phytoplankton do
not exhaust phosphate and nitrate in certain areas of the world oceans. Many of
them relate to the now controversial idea of fertilizing the oceans with iron to
spur marine productivity as a way of increasing CO2 removal from the atmosphere.
In a five-page preface, the special issue editors review the rapid development
of interest in the scheme, suggesting that it may have gained momentum so fast
because of its subliminal attraction as one of the greatest manipulations of
nature ever attempted. They conclude that, in any case, we should reflect on the
true motivations involved before carrying out such an intervention.
Two items from Nature, 357(6380), June 25, 1992:
"14C Activity of Dissolved Organic Carbon Fractions in the
North-Central Pacific and Sargasso Sea," J.E. Bauer (Dept. Oceanog.,
Florida State Univ., Tallahassee FL 32306), P.M. Williams, E.R.M. Druffel,
Recent measurements of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) using a new method,
high-temperature catalytic combustion, have led to speculation that "younger",
more recently produced DOC could contribute significantly to overall oceanic
organic carbon fluxes. However, 14C activities of samples from two regions show
no evidence of this.
"Rapid Coupling of Sinking Particle Fluxes Between Surface and Deep
Ocean Waters," V.L. Asper (Stennis Space Ctr., Univ. Southern Mississippi,
MS 39529), W.G. Deuser et al., 670-672.
The extent to which fluxes of organic matter to the deep sea are coupled to
processes at the ocean surface is in question. Direct measurements of seasonal
variations in upper-ocean primary productivity and of particle fluxes at several
depths show that the productivity signal can be transferred rapidly to the deep
sea, resulting in close coupling between the surface and deep ocean.
"Simulation of the 1979 Spring Bloom in the Mid-Atlantic Bight: A
Coupled Physical/Biological/Optical Model," W.W. Gregg (NASA-Goddard,
Greenbelt MD 20771), J.J. Walsh, J. Geophys. Res., 97(C4),
5723-5743, Apr. 15, 1992.
The model was used to investigate causes of phytoplankton variability as
observed in Coastal Zone Color Scanner imagery, and to estimate the magnitude
and variability of primary production. Primary production estimates were within
reasonable agreement with those measured in situ, suggesting the
applicability of the model in estimating regional-scale primary productivity.
Two items from J. Geophys. Res., 97(C2), Feb. 1992:
"The Remote Sensing of Ocean Primary Productivity: Use of a New Data
Compilation to Test Satellite Algorithms," W. Balch (Rosenstiel Sch. Marine
Sci., 4600 Rickenbacker Cswy., Miami FL 33149), R. Evans et al., 2279-2293.
Tested global pigment and primary productivity algorithms based on a new
data compilation of over 12,000 stations (mostly Northern Hemisphere) from the
late 1950s to 1988. Results suggest that future success in deriving primary
productivity from remotely sensed data will rely on accurate retrievals of "living"
biomass from satellite data, as well as the prediction of at least one
photoadaptive parameter such as maximum photosynthesis. (A correction to this
paper is printed on p. 3689 of the March 15 issue.)
"Reconciling Aggregation Theory with Observed Vertical Fluxes Following
Phytoplankton Blooms," P.S. Hill (Sch. Oceanog., Univ. Washington, AK-40,
Seattle WA 98195), 2295-2308.
Sediment trap data show that rapidly sinking pulses of phytodetritus form
after phytoplankton blooms. A numerical model of physical aggregation and
sedimentation in the surface ocean was used to gauge whether predicted
aggregation rates were high enough to generate postbloom sediment pulses.
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