Assessment of C, N and Si isotopes as tracers of past ocean nutrient and carbon cycling

Type Article
Date 2021-07
Language English
Author(s) Farmer Jesse1, 2, Hertzberg Jennifer3, Cardinal Damien4, Fietz Susanne5, Hendry Katharine6, Jaccard Sam7, 8, Paytan Adina9, Rafter Patrick10, Ren Haojia11, Somes Christopher12, Sutton Jill13, Geotraces Pages Biological Productivity Working Group Members
Affiliation(s) 1 : Department of Geosciences, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA
2 : Max-Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany
3 : Department of Ocean, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, USA
4 : LOCEAN (UMR7159), Sorbonne Université, IRD, CNRS, MNHN, Paris, France
5 : Department of Earth Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
6 : School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
7 : Institute of Geological Sciences and Oeschger Center for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
8 : Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland
9 : Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA, USA
10 : Department of Earth System Science, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA
11 : Department of Geosciences, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
12 : GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, 24105 Kiel, Germany
13 : Univ Brest, CNRS, IRD, Ifremer, Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer, LEMAR, Plouzané, France
Source Global Biogeochemical Cycles (0886-6236) (American Geophysical Union), 2021-07 , Vol. 35 , N. 7 , P. e2020GB006775 (28p.)
DOI 10.1029/2020GB006775
WOS© Times Cited 7
Note A full list of working group members and their affiliations appears at the end of the manuscript
Keyword(s) marine chemistry, carbon, nitrogen, silicon, paleoceanography, stable isotopes

Biological productivity in the ocean directly influences the partitioning of carbon between the atmosphere and ocean interior, thereby controlling the distributions of many elements and their isotopes in the ocean. Through this carbon cycle feedback, changing ocean productivity has long been hypothesized as a key pathway for modulating past atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and hence global climate. To reconstruct climate impacts from temporal changes in paleoproductivity, robust proxies are needed to test the connection between past ocean productivity, nutrient biogeochemistry, ocean circulation and climate. Here we compile water column carbon (C), nitrogen (N) and silicon (Si) stable isotopes from GEOTRACES-era data in four key ocean regions to review geochemical proxies of oceanic carbon and nutrient partitioning based on the C, N, and Si isotopic composition of marine sediments. Relationships between water column isotope distributions, ocean productivity, and nutrient utilization are discussed. The potential for isotope measurements in sedimentary archives to record aspects of past ocean productivity are evaluated, along with key uncertainties and limitations associated with each proxy. Constraints on past ocean productivity, nutrient cycling and utilization during late Quaternary glacial-interglacial cycles and over the Cenozoic are examined. This review highlights opportunities for future research using multielement proxy applications and emphasizes the importance of such applications to reconstructing Cenozoic climate evolution.

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Farmer Jesse, Hertzberg Jennifer, Cardinal Damien, Fietz Susanne, Hendry Katharine, Jaccard Sam, Paytan Adina, Rafter Patrick, Ren Haojia, Somes Christopher, Sutton Jill, Geotraces Pages Biological Productivity Working Group Members (2021). Assessment of C, N and Si isotopes as tracers of past ocean nutrient and carbon cycling. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 35(7), e2020GB006775 (28p.). Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :