Brzezinski, M. A., Krause, J. W., Bundy, R. M., Barbeau, K. A., Franks, P., Goericke, R., et al. (2015). Enhanced silica ballasting from iron stress sustains carbon export in a frontal zone within the California Current.
J. Geophys. Res. Oceans, 120(7), 4654–4669.
Selph, K. E., Landry, M. R., Taylor, A. G., Gutierrez-Rodriguez, A., Stukel, M. R., Wokuluk, J., et al. (2016). Phytoplankton production and taxon-specific growth rates in the Costa Rica Dome.
J Plankton Res, 38(2), 199–215.
Abstract: During summer 2010, we investigated phytoplankton production and growth rates at 19 stations in the eastern tropical Pacific, where winds and strong opposing currents generate the Costa Rica Dome (CRD), an open-ocean upwelling feature. Primary production (14C-incorporation) and group-specific growth and net growth rates (two-treatment seawater dilution method) were estimated from samples incubated in situ at eight depths. Our cruise coincided with a mild El Nino event, and only weak upwelling was observed in the CRD. Nevertheless, the highest phytoplankton abundances were found near the dome center. However, mixed-layer growth rates were lowest in the dome center ( approximately 0.5-0.9 day-1), but higher on the edge of the dome ( approximately 0.9-1.0 day-1) and in adjacent coastal waters (0.9-1.3 day-1). We found good agreement between independent methods to estimate growth rates. Mixed-layer growth rates of Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus were largely balanced by mortality, whereas eukaryotic phytoplankton showed positive net growth ( approximately 0.5-0.6 day-1), that is, growth available to support larger (mesozooplankton) consumer biomass. These are the first group-specific phytoplankton rate estimates in this region, and they demonstrate that integrated primary production is high, exceeding 1 g C m-2 day-1 on average, even during a period of reduced upwelling.
Stukel, M. R., & Kelly, T. B. (2019). The carbon: (234) Thorium ratios of sinking particles in the California current ecosystem 2: Examination of a thorium sorption, desorption, and particle transport model.
Marine Chemistry, 212, 1–15.
Abstract: Thorium-234 (234Th) is a powerful tracer of particle dynamics and the biological pump in the surface ocean; however, variability in carbon: thorium ratios of sinking particles adds substantial uncertainty to estimates of organic carbon export. We coupled a mechanistic thorium sorption and desorption model to a one-dimensional particle sinking model that uses realistic particle settling velocity spectra. The model generates estimates of 238U234Th disequilibrium, particulate organic carbon concentration, and the C:234Th ratio of sinking particles, which are then compared to in situ measurements from quasi-Lagrangian studies conducted on six cruises in the California Current Ecosystem. Broad patterns observed in in situ measurements, including decreasing C:234Th ratios with depth and a strong correlation between sinking C:234Th and the ratio of vertically-integrated particulate organic carbon (POC) to vertically-integrated total water column 234Th, were accurately recovered by models assuming either a power law distribution of sinking speeds or a double log normal distribution of sinking speeds. Simulations suggested that the observed decrease in C:234Th with depth may be driven by preferential remineralization of carbon by particle-attached microbes. However, an alternate model structure featuring complete consumption and/or disaggregation of particles by mesozooplankton (e.g. no preferential remineralization of carbon) was also able to simulate decreasing C:234Th with depth (although the decrease was weaker), driven by 234Th adsorption onto slowly sinking particles. Model results also suggest that during bloom decays C:234Th ratios of sinking particles should be higher than expected (based on contemporaneous water column POC), because high settling velocities minimize carbon remineralization during sinking.
Stukel, M. R., Decima, M., & Kelly, T. B. (2018). A new approach for incorporating 15N isotopic data into linear inverse ecosystem models with Markov Chain Monte Carlo sampling.
PLoS One, 13(6), e0199123.
Abstract: Oceanographic field programs often use delta15N biogeochemical measurements and in situ rate measurements to investigate nitrogen cycling and planktonic ecosystem structure. However, integrative modeling approaches capable of synthesizing these distinct measurement types are lacking. We develop a novel approach for incorporating delta15N isotopic data into existing Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) random walk methods for solving linear inverse ecosystem models. We test the ability of this approach to recover food web indices (nitrate uptake, nitrogen fixation, zooplankton trophic level, and secondary production) derived from forward models simulating the planktonic ecosystems of the California Current and Amazon River Plume. We show that the MCMC with delta15N approach typically does a better job of recovering ecosystem structure than the standard MCMC or L2 minimum norm (L2MN) approaches, and also outperforms an L2MN with delta15N approach. Furthermore, we find that the MCMC with delta15N approach is robust to the removal of input equations and hence is well suited to typical pelagic ecosystem studies for which the system is usually vastly under-constrained. Our approach is easily extendable for use with delta13C isotopic measurements or variable carbon:nitrogen stoichiometry.