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Influence of physical and biological processes on the seasonal cycle of biogenic flux in the equatorial Indian Ocean

Author(s): P. J. Vidya | S. Prasanna Kumar | M. Gauns | A. Verenkar | D. Unger | V. Ramaswamy

Journal: Biogeosciences Discussions
ISSN 1810-6277

Volume: 10;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 2889;
Date: 2013;
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Seasonal cycle of biogenic fluxes obtained from sediment trap at two locations 5° 24′ N, 86° 46′ E (SBBT) and 3° 34′ N, 77° 46′ E (EIOT) within the equatorial Indian Ocean (EIO) were examined to understand the factors that control them. The sediment trap data at SBBT were collected for ten years from November 1987 while that at EIOT was for one year period from January 1996. The characteristic of biogenic flux at SBBT was the strong seasonality with peak flux in August, while lack of seasonality characterized the flux at EIOT. At the SBBT and EIOT, the higher chlorophyll biomass during summer monsoon was supported by wind-mixing, which supplied new nitrogen to the upper ocean. The stronger winds at SBBT compared to EIOT resulted in greater entrainment of nutrients to the euphotic zone, which supported higher chlorophyll biomass. High cell counts of phytoplankton (> 5 μm) at SBBT dominated by diatoms suggest the operation of classical food web and high carbon export. On the contrary, one-and-half time higher magnitude of micro-zooplankton biomass dominated by picophytoplankton along with 2-fold lesser meso-zooplankton at EIOT indicated the importance of microbial loop. The substantial decrease in the carbon export at EIOT indicated faster remineralization of photosynthetically produced organic matter. We see a striking similarity between the biological process that operates in the SBBT with that of the equatorial Atlantic and EIOT with that of the equatorial Pacific, though the physical forcing in these three regions, namely EIO, the equatorial Atlantic and the equatorial Pacific, are very different.
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