Title

Respiration of new and old carbon in the surface ocean: implications for estimates of global oceanic gross primary productivity

Document Type

Article

Publication details

Carvalho, MC, Schulz, KG & Eyre, BD 2017, 'Respiration of new and old carbon in the surface ocean: implications for estimates of global oceanic gross primary productivity', Global Biogeochemical Cycles, vol. 31, no. 6, pp. 975-984.

Published version available from:

https://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2016GB005583

Peer Reviewed

Peer-Reviewed

Abstract

New respiration (Rnew, of freshly fixated carbon) and old respiration (Rold, of storage carbon) were estimated for different regions of the global surface ocean using published data on simultaneous measurements of the following: (1) primary productivity using 14C (14PP); (2) gross primary productivity (GPP) based on 18O or O2; and (3) net community productivity (NCP) using O2. The ratio Rnew/GPP in 24 h incubations was typically between 0.1 and 0.3 regardless of depth and geographical area, demonstrating that values were almost constant regardless of large variations in temperature (0 to 27°C), irradiance (surface to ~100 m deep), nutrients (nutrient-rich and nutrient-poor waters), and community composition (diatoms, flagellates, etc,). As such, between 10 and 30% of primary production in the surface ocean is respired in less than 24 h, and most respiration (between 55 and 75%) was of older carbon. Rnew was most likely associated with autotrophs, with minor contribution from heterotrophic bacteria. Patterns were less clear for Rold. Short 14C incubations are less affected by respiratory losses. Global oceanic GPP is estimated to be between 70 and 145 Gt C yr-1.