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Placing an upper limit on cryptic marine sulphur cycling
Johnston, D.T.; Gill, B.C.; Masterson, A.; Beirne, E.; Casciotti, K.L.; Knapp, A.N.; Berelson, W. (2014). Placing an upper limit on cryptic marine sulphur cycling. Nature (Lond.) 513(7519): 530–533.
In: Nature: International Weekly Journal of Science. Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 0028-0836, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Authors  Top 
  • Johnston, D.T.
  • Gill, B.C.
  • Masterson, A.
  • Beirne, E.
  • Casciotti, K.L.
  • Knapp, A.N.
  • Berelson, W.

    A quantitative understanding of sources and sinks of fixed nitrogen in low-oxygen waters is required to explain the role of oxygen-minimum zones (OMZs) in controlling the fixed nitrogen inventory of the global ocean. Apparent imbalances in geochemical nitrogen budgets(1) have spurred numerous studies to measure the contributions of heterotrophic and autotrophic N-2-producing metabolisms(denitrification and anaerobic ammonia oxidation, respectively)(2,3). Recently, 'cryptic' sulphur cycling was proposed as a partial solution to the fundamental biogeochemical problem of closing marine fixed-nitrogen budgets in intensely oxygen-deficient regions(4). The degree to which the cryptic sulphur cycle can fuel a loss of fixed nitrogen in the modern ocean requires the quantification of sulphur recycling in OMZ settings. Here we provide a new constraint for OMZ sulphate reduction based on isotopic profiles of oxygen (O-18/O-16) and sulphur (S-33/S-32, S-34/S-32) in seawater sulphate through oxygenated open-ocean and OMZ-bearing water columns. When coupled with observations and models of sulphate isotope dynamics and data-constrained model estimates of OMZ water-mass residence time, we find that previous estimates for sulphur-driven remineralization and loss of fixed nitrogen from the oceans are near the upper limit for what is possible given in situ sulphate isotope data.

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