PerspectiveOCEAN CHEMISTRY

The missing link in oceanic phosphorus cycling?

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Science  15 May 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6236, pp. 759-760
DOI: 10.1126/science.aab2801

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Summary

Nutrient limitation plays a central role in the productivity of marine systems and long-term atmospheric carbon dioxide uptake by the oceans (1). Marine organisms are adept at changing their biochemical physiology to take advantage of scarce resources (2). Thus, changes in the ocean environment affect the biodiversity of organisms within those waters and the efficiency by which material is transported from the surface to the sea floor (3). On page 783 of this issue, Van Mooy et al. (4) report their discovery of a large, rapidly recycled pool of reduced phosphorus compounds that play a key role in ocean phosphorus biogeochemistry.