Mesoscale Eddies Drive Increased Silica Export in the Subtropical Pacific Ocean

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Science  18 May 2007:
Vol. 316, Issue 5827, pp. 1017-1021
DOI: 10.1126/science.1136221

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Mesoscale eddies may play a critical role in ocean biogeochemistry by increasing nutrient supply, primary production, and efficiency of the biological pump, that is, the ratio of carbon export to primary production in otherwise nutrient-deficient waters. We examined a diatom bloom within a cold-core cyclonic eddy off Hawai`i. Eddy primary production, community biomass, and size composition were markedly enhanced but had little effect on the carbon export ratio. Instead, the system functioned as a selective silica pump. Strong trophic coupling and inefficient organic export may be general characteristics of community perturbation responses in the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean.

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