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High variability of particulate organic carbon export along the North Atlantic GEOTRACES section GA01 as deduced from 234Th fluxes
Lemaitre, N.; Planchon, F.; Planquette, H.; Dehairs, F.; Fonseca-Batista, D.; Roukaerts, A.; Deman, F.; Tang, Y.; Mariez, C.; Sarthou, G. (2018). High variability of particulate organic carbon export along the North Atlantic GEOTRACES section GA01 as deduced from 234Th fluxes. Biogeosciences 15(21): 6417-6437. https://dx.doi.org/10.5194/bg-15-6417-2018
In: Gattuso, J.P.; Kesselmeier, J. (Ed.) Biogeosciences. Copernicus Publications: Göttingen. ISSN 1726-4170; e-ISSN 1726-4189, meer
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  • Lemaitre, N., meer
  • Planchon, F., meer
  • Planquette, H.
  • Dehairs, F., meer
  • Fonseca-Batista, D., meer
  • Roukaerts, A., meer
  • Deman, F., meer
  • Tang, Y.
  • Mariez, C.
  • Sarthou, G.

Abstract
    In this study we report particulate organic carbon (POC) export fluxes for different biogeochemical basins in the North Atlantic as part of the GEOTRACES GA01 expedition (GEOVIDE, May–June 2014). Surface POC export fluxes were deduced by combining export fluxes of total Thorium-234 (234Th) with the ratio of POC to 234Th of sinking particles at the depth of export. Particles were collected in two size classes (>53 and 1–53 µm) using in situ pumps and the large size fraction was considered representative of sinking material. Surface POC export fluxes revealed latitudinal variations between provinces, ranging from 1.4 mmol m−2 d−1 in the Irminger basin, where the bloom was close to its maximum, to 12 mmol m−2 d−1 near the Iberian Margin, where the bloom had already declined. In addition to the state of progress of the bloom, variations of the POC export fluxes were also related to the phytoplankton size and community structure. In line with previous studies, the presence of coccolithophorids and diatoms appeared to enhance the POC export flux, while the dominance of picophytoplankton cells, such as cyanobacteria, resulted in lower fluxes. The ratio of POC export to primary production (PP) strongly varied regionally and was generally low (≤14 %), except at two stations located near the Iberian Margin (35 %) and within the Labrador basin (38 %), which were characterized by unusual low in situ PP. We thus conclude that during the GEOVIDE cruise, the North Atlantic was not as efficient in exporting carbon from the surface, as reported earlier by others. Finally, we also estimated the POC export at 100 m below the surface export depth to investigate the POC transfer efficiencies. This parameter was also highly variable amongst regions, with the highest transfer efficiency at sites where coccolithophorids dominated.

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