Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Macroscopic particles (> 500 µg), including marine snow, large migrating zooplankton, and their fast-sinking fecal pellets, represent primary vehicles of organic carbon flux from the surface to the deep sea. In contrast, freely suspended microscopic particles such as bacteria and protists do not sink, and they contribute the largest portion of metabolism in the upper ocean. In bathy- and abyssopelagic layers of the ocean (2,000-6,000 m), however, microscopic particles may not dominate oxygen consumption. In a section across the tropical Atlantic, we show that macroscopic particle peaks occurred frequently in the deep sea, whereas microscopic particles were barely detectable. In 10 of 17 deep-sea profiles (> 2,000 m depth), macroscopic particle abundances were more strongly cross-correlated with oxygen deficits than microscopic particles, suggesting that biomass bound to large particles dominates overall deep-sea metabolism.
Original Publication Citation
Bochdansky, A. B., van Aken, H. M., & Herndl, G. J. (2010). Role of macroscopic particles in deep-sea oxygen consumption. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(18), 8287-8291. doi:10.1073/pnas.0913744107
Bochdansky, Alexander B.; Van Aken, Hendrik M.; and Herndl, Gerhard J., "Role of Macroscopic Particles in Deep-Sea Oxygen Consumption" (2010). OEAS Faculty Publications. 203.