Articles | Volume 12, issue 24
Biogeosciences, 12, 7483–7502, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-12-7483-2015
Biogeosciences, 12, 7483–7502, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-12-7483-2015

Research article 21 Dec 2015

Research article | 21 Dec 2015

Nitrogen cycling in the deep sedimentary biosphere: nitrate isotopes in porewaters underlying the oligotrophic North Atlantic

S. D. Wankel et al.

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Short summary
In the sediments underlying the global oligotrophic ocean, low levels of microbial activity persist, despite low input of organic matter from surface ocean productivity. Using measured nitrogen and oxygen isotopes of porewater nitrate we estimate the magnitude and extent of microbial nitrogen cycling. We find evidence for the overlap of both denitrification as well as autotrophic pathways such as nitrification and nitrogen fixation, pointing to a relatively large role for subsurface autotrophy.
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