FINAL TECHNICAL REPORT-THE ECOLOGY AND GENOMICS OF CO2 FIXATIION IN OCEANIC RIVER PLUMES
FINAL TECHNICAL REPORT-THE ECOLOGY AND GENOMICS OF CO2 FIXATIION IN OCEANIC RIVER PLUMES Oceanic river plumes represent some of the most productive environments on Earth. As major conduits for freshwater and nutrients into the coastal ocean, their impact on water column ecosystems extend for up to a thousand km into oligotrophic oceans. Upon entry into the oceans rivers are tremendous sources of CO2 and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC). Yet owing to increased light transmissivity from sediment deposition coupled with the influx of nutrients, dramatic CO2 drawdown occurs, and plumes rapidly become sinks for CO2. Using state-of-the-art gene expression technology, we have examined the molecular biodiversity of CO2 fixation in the Mississippi River Plume (MRP; two research cruises) and the Orinoco River Plume (ORP; one cruise). When the MRP extends far into the Gulf because of entrainment with the Loop Current, MRP production (carbon fixation) can account for up to 41% of the surface production in the Gulf of Mexico. Nearer-shore plume stations (“high plume,” salinity< 32 ppt) had tremendous CO2 drawdown that was correlated to heterokont (principally diatom) carbon fixation gene expression. The principal form of nitrogen for this production based upon 15N studies was urea, believed to be from anthropogenic origin (fertilizer) from the MRP watershed. Intermediate plume environments (salinity 34 ppt) more »
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