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Title: Has nitrogen supply to coral reefs in the south Pacific Ocean changed over the past 50 thousand years?
Authors: Erler, DV
Shepherd, BO
Linsley, BK
Nothdurft, LD
Hua, Q
Lough, JM
Keywords: Coral reefs
Pacific Ocean
Ground water
Pleistocene epoch
Issue Date: 28-Mar-2019
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc
Citation: Erler, D. V., Shepherd, B. O., Linsley, B. K., Nothdurft, L. D., Hua, Q., & Lough, J. M. (2019). Has nitrogen supply to coral reefs in the south Pacific Ocean changed over the past 50 thousand years?. Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology, 34(4), 567-579. doi:10.1029/2019PA003587
Abstract: Tropical islands can facilitate surface ocean biological productivity by enhancing the supply of nitrogen to the euphotic zone. Yet in the world's most oligotrophic oceanic region, the South Pacific Subtropical Gyre (SPSG), this “island mass effect” appears diminished. If this is the case, where did island coral reefs in the SPSG get their nitrogen from, and has this changed over time? Here we use coral skeleton isotopes (δ15N and δ18O) and element/Ca ratios to identify the sources of nitrogen to a late Pleistocene coral reef in the SPSG (Cook Islands); we then compare these results to modern corals in the same region. The supply of nitrogen to the late Pleistocene reef appears dominated by upwelling of subsurface nitrogen during cool dry events, supplemented with nitrogen from island-induced N2 fixation (27 ± 3%) during warm wet periods. For the modern corals, N2 fixation supplies nitrogen to the island reefs during cool dry periods with groundwater providing nitrogen during wet periods. We propose that the subsurface supply of nitrogen to the modern reefs has declined as a result of reduced upwelling but this supply has been replaced with increasing nitrogen discharge from groundwater and an increase in island-induced N2 fixation. ©2019 American Geophysical Union
ISSN: 2572-4525
Appears in Collections:Journal Articles

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