A source of isotopically light organic carbon in a low-pH anoxic marine zone
Vargas, Cristián A.
Cantarero, Sebastián I.
De Pol-Holz, Ricardo
Cornejo D’Ottone, Marcela
DescriptionArtículo de publicación ISI
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Geochemical and stable isotope measurements in the anoxic marine zone (AMZ) off northern Chile during periods of contrasting oceanographic conditions indicate that microbial processes mediating sulfur and nitrogen cycling exert a significant control on the carbonate chemistry (pH, AT, DIC and pCO2) of this region. Here we show that in 2015, a large isotopic fractionation between DIC and POC, a DIC and N deficit in AMZ waters indicate the predominance of in situ dark carbon fixation by sulfur-driven autotrophic denitrification in addition to anammox. In 2018, however, the fractionation between DIC and POC was significantly lower, while the total alkalinity increased in the low-pH AMZ core, suggesting a predominance of heterotrophic processes. An isotope mass-balance model demonstrates that variations in the rates of sulfur- and nitrogen-mediated carbon fixation in AMZ waters contribute ~7–35% of the POC exported to deeper waters. Thus, dark carbon fixation should be included in assessments of future changes in carbon cycling and carbonate chemistry due to AMZ expansion.