Net community production of oxygen derived from in vitro and in situ 1-D modeling techniques in a cyclonic mesoscale eddy in the Sargasso Sea
Abstract. It has been proposed that the disagreement traditionally reported between in vitro incubation and in situ estimates of oxygen net community production (NCP) could be explained, at least partially, by undersampling episodic pulses of net autotrophy associated with mesoscale dynamics. In this study we compare in vitro incubation estimates of net community production with in situ estimates, derived from oxygen profiles and a 1-D model, within a cyclonic eddy investigated in the Sargasso Sea in summer 2004. The in vitro NCP rates measured at the center of the eddy showed a shift from net autotrophy (7±3 mmol O2 m−2 d−1) to net heterotrophy (−25±5 mmol O2 m−2 d−1) from late June to early August. The model-derived NCP rates also showed a temporal decline (19±6 to −3±7 and 11±8 mmol O2 m−2 d−1), but they were systematically higher than the in vitro estimates and reported net autotrophy or balance for the sampling period. In this comparison episodic pulses in photosynthesis or respiration driven by mesoscale eddies can not explain the discrepancy between the in vitro and in situ estimates of NCP. This points to methodological artefacts or temporal or submesoscale variability as the mechanisms responsible for the disagreement between the techniques, at least in this dataset.