Articles | Volume 10, issue 6
Biogeosciences, 10, 4073–4085, 2013
Biogeosciences, 10, 4073–4085, 2013

Research article 20 Jun 2013

Research article | 20 Jun 2013

Temperature effects on carbon-specific respiration rate and sinking velocity of diatom aggregates – potential implications for deep ocean export processes

M. H. Iversen1 and H. Ploug2,3 M. H. Iversen and H. Ploug
  • 1Faculty of Geosciences and MARUM, University of Bremen, Klagenfurter and Leobener Strasse, 28359 Bremen, Germany
  • 2Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Am Handelshafen 12, 27570 Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 3University of Gothenburg, Dept. of Biology and Environmental Sciences, P.O. Box 461, 40530 Gothenburg, Sweden

Abstract. Most deep ocean carbon flux profiles show low and almost constant fluxes of particulate organic carbon (POC) in the deep ocean. However, the reason for the non-changing POC fluxes at depths is unknown. This study presents direct measurements of formation, degradation, and sinking velocity of diatom aggregates from laboratory studies performed at 15 °C and 4 °C during a three-week experiment. The average carbon-specific respiration rate during the experiment was 0.12 ± 0.03 at 15 °C, and decreased 3.5-fold when the temperature was lowered to 4 °C. No direct influence of temperature on aggregate sinking speed was observed. Using the remineralisation rate measured at 4 °C and an average particle sinking speed of 150 m d−1, calculated carbon fluxes were similar to those collected in deep ocean sediment traps from a global data set, indicating that temperature plays a major role for deep ocean fluxes of POC.

Final-revised paper