The relative influences of nitrogen and phosphorus on oceanic primary production

  title={The relative influences of nitrogen and phosphorus on oceanic primary production},
  author={Toby Tyrrell},
  • T. Tyrrell
  • Published 5 August 1999
  • Environmental Science
  • Nature
A simple model has the potential to resolve the long-running debate amongst oceanographers over whether nitrogen or phosphorus exerts overall control on oceanic primary production. A representation of the competition between nitrogen-fixing and other phytoplankton is inserted into a two-box global model of the oceanic nitrogen and phosphorus cycles. Homeostatic regulation of both nitrate and phosphate concentrations results, with surface waters more deficient in nitrate than phosphate in the… 
The biogeochemical cycling of phosphorus in marine systems
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Biogeosciences Phosphate availability and the ultimate control of new nitrogen input by nitrogen fixation in the tropical Pacific Ocean
Due to the low atmospheric input of phosphate into the open ocean, it is one of the key nutrients that could ultimately control primary production and carbon export into the deep ocean. The observed
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Oceanic fixed-nitrogen concentrations are controlled by the balance between nitrogen fixation and denitrification1, 2, 3, 4. A number of factors, including iron limitation5, 6, 7, can restrict


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Limnological and marine geochemical opinion favors phosphorus limitation of organic production in aquatic environments, while marine biological opinion favors nitrogen limitation, which suggests that phosphorus vs. nitrogen limitation is a function of the relative rates of water exchange and internal biochemical processes acting to adjust the ratio of ecosystem N:P availability.
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Although the perception that nitrogen plays a major role in the ecology of the sea goes back at least to the turn of the century, it is only in the past 2 decades, after significant advances in
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The distribution and availability of the nutrients nitrate and phosphate exert a strong control over primary production in the world ocean. Here we use a recently compiled global data set of
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Over geological time, photosynthetic carbon fixation in the oceans has exceeded respiratory oxidation of organic carbon. The imbalance between the two processes has resulted in the simultaneous
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THE input of fixed nitrogen to the oceans by in situ fixation, river/groundwater supply and atmospheric deposition represents an important control on marine productivity on long timescales, and hence
Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Eutrophication in the Coastal Marine Environment
Removal of phosphate from detergents is not likely to slow the eutrophication of coastal marine waters, and its replacement with nitrogen-containing nitrilotriacetic acid may worsen the situation.
Low Nitrogen to Phosphorus Ratios Favor Dominance by Blue-Green Algae in Lake Phytoplankton
  • V. Smith
  • Environmental Science
  • 1983
An analysis of growing season data from 17 lakes throughout the world suggests that the relative proportion of blue-green algae (Cyanophyta) in the epilimnetic phytoplankton is dependent on the