Macro-scale exhaustion of surface phosphate by dinitrogen fixation in the western North Pacific

Fuminori Hashihama, Ken Furuya, Satoshi Kitajima, Shigenobu Takeda, Toshihiko Takemura, Jota Kanda

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    82 Citations (Scopus)


    In the subtropical oceans, nutrient concentrations are frequently below the detection limits of standard analytical methods. We applied a highly sensitive method to the surface water of the western and central Pacific between 42°N and 40°S and between 141°E and 158°W except in the equatorial zone, and detected overall depletion of nitrate + nitrite and an excess of SRP. However, a remarkable exception was found: an almost complete exhaustion of SRP (<10 nM) existed at a horizontal scale of >2000 km in the western subtropical North Pacific in both summer and winter. The SRP exhaustion was a consequence of an elevated dinitrogen fixation, which occurred in areas with high dust deposition from the Asian continent that likely enhanced SRP consumption. A coupling among nutrient dynamics, dinitrogen fixation and dust deposition produces the extremely low P availability spanning a large area, which appears to be unique to the western North Pacific.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numberL03610
    JournalGeophysical Research Letters
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 16 2009

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Geophysics
    • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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