|Nitrogen cycle of the open ocean: From genes to ecosystems|In: Annual Review of Marine Science. Annual Reviews: Palo Alto, Calif.. ISSN 1941-1405, more
nitrogen cycle; marine biogeochemical cycles; nitrogen fixation; nitrification; denitrification; anaerobic ammonia oxidation
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The marine nitrogen (N) cycle controls the productivity of the oceans. This cycle is driven by complex biogeochemical transformations, including nitrogen fixation, denitrification, and assimilation and anaerobic ammonia oxidation, mediated by microorganisms. New processes and organisms continue to be discovered, complicating the already complex picture of oceanic N cycling. Genomics research has uncovered the diversity of nitrogen metabolism strategies in phytoplankton and bacterioplankton. The elemental ratios of nutrients in biological material are more flexible than previously believed, with implications for vertical export of carbon and associated nutrients to the deep ocean. Estimates of nitrogen fixation and denitrification continue to be modified, and anaerobic ammonia oxidation has been identified as a new process involved in denitrification in oxygen minimum zones. The nitrogen cycle in the oceans is an integral feature of the function of ocean ecosystems and will be a central player in how oceans respond during global environmental change.