Acantharian Fluxes and Strontium to Chlorinity Ratios in the North Pacific Ocean

Science  18 Sep 1987:
Vol. 237, Issue 4821, pp. 1490-1494
DOI: 10.1126/science.237.4821.1490


Data on particulate strontium sulfate fluxes and strontium to chlorinity ratios were compared to provide insights into the strontium cycle of the North Pacific. Freedrifting sediment traps were used to derive large particle fluxes between depths of 100 and 3500 meters in the eastern and western North Pacific Ocean. Flux data revealed substantial quantities of acantharian skeletons and cysts (both made of strontium sulfate) settling through the upper kilometer of the water column. The greatest fluxes of celestite were detected at 400 meters. Minimal to nondetectable fluxes noted at and below 900 meters provide evidence that by this horizon, the majority of acantharian specimens had dissolved, thereby contributing to the pool of dissolved strontium. Growth and subsequent dissolution of acantharians in the upper kilometer are qualitatively consistent with the well-developed minimum and maximum strontium to chlorinity ratios that are consistently noted in these waters. These fluxes of particulate strontium and model calculations for fluxes of dissolved strontium indicate that acantharians play an important role in the ocean's strontium budget.