Document Detail

Climate-driven trends in contemporary ocean productivity.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  17151666     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Contributing roughly half of the biosphere's net primary production (NPP), photosynthesis by oceanic phytoplankton is a vital link in the cycling of carbon between living and inorganic stocks. Each day, more than a hundred million tons of carbon in the form of CO2 are fixed into organic material by these ubiquitous, microscopic plants of the upper ocean, and each day a similar amount of organic carbon is transferred into marine ecosystems by sinking and grazing. The distribution of phytoplankton biomass and NPP is defined by the availability of light and nutrients (nitrogen, phosphate, iron). These growth-limiting factors are in turn regulated by physical processes of ocean circulation, mixed-layer dynamics, upwelling, atmospheric dust deposition, and the solar cycle. Satellite measurements of ocean colour provide a means of quantifying ocean productivity on a global scale and linking its variability to environmental factors. Here we describe global ocean NPP changes detected from space over the past decade. The period is dominated by an initial increase in NPP of 1,930 teragrams of carbon a year (Tg C yr(-1)), followed by a prolonged decrease averaging 190 Tg C yr(-1). These trends are driven by changes occurring in the expansive stratified low-latitude oceans and are tightly coupled to coincident climate variability. This link between the physical environment and ocean biology functions through changes in upper-ocean temperature and stratification, which influence the availability of nutrients for phytoplankton growth. The observed reductions in ocean productivity during the recent post-1999 warming period provide insight on how future climate change can alter marine food webs.
Michael J Behrenfeld; Robert T O'Malley; David A Siegel; Charles R McClain; Jorge L Sarmiento; Gene C Feldman; Allen J Milligan; Paul G Falkowski; Ricardo M Letelier; Emmanuel S Boss
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Nature     Volume:  444     ISSN:  1476-4687     ISO Abbreviation:  Nature     Publication Date:  2006 Dec 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2006-12-07     Completed Date:  2007-01-04     Revised Date:  2008-11-21    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0410462     Medline TA:  Nature     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  752-5     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Carbon Dioxide / metabolism
Chlorophyll / metabolism
Food Chain
Greenhouse Effect
Hot Temperature
Oceans and Seas
Phytoplankton / metabolism*
Seawater / chemistry
Reg. No./Substance:
124-38-9/Carbon Dioxide; 1406-65-1/Chlorophyll
Comment In:
Nature. 2006 Dec 7;444(7120):695-6   [PMID:  17151650 ]

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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