Earth Syst. Sci. Data Discuss., 5, 47-106, 2012
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Earth System Science Data (ESSD). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in ESSD.
Database of diazotrophs in global ocean: abundances, biomass and nitrogen fixation rates
Y.-W. Luo1, S. C. Doney1, L. A. Anderson2, M. Benavides3, A. Bode4, S. Bonnet5, K. H. Boström6, D. Böttjer7, D. G. Capone8, E. J. Carpenter9, Y. L. Chen10, M. J. Church7, J. E. Dore11, L. I. Falcón12, A. Fernández13, R. A. Foster14, K. Furuya15, F. Gómez16, K. Gundersen17, A. M. Hynes18,*, D. M. Karl7, S. Kitajima15, R. J. Langlois19, J. LaRoche19, R. M. Letelier20, E. Marañón13, D. J. McGillicuddy Jr.2, P. H. Moisander21,**, C. M. Moore21, B. Mouriño-Carballido13, M. R. Mulholland23, J. A. Needoba24, K. M. Orcutt17, A. J. Poulton25, P. Raimbault5, A. P. Rees26, L. Riemann27, T. Shiozaki15, A. Subramaniam28, T. Tyrrell22, K. A. Turk-Kubo21, M. Varela4, T. A. Villareal29, E. A. Webb8, A. E. White19, J. Wu30, and J. P. Zehr21
1Department of Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543, USA
2Department of Applied Ocean Science and Engineering, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543, USA
3Instituto de Oceanografía y Cambio Global, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 35017, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain
4Inst. Español de Oceanografía, Centro Oceanográfico de A Coruña, 15080 A Coruña, Spain
5IRD-INSU-CNRS, Laboratoire d'Océanographie Physique et Biogéochimique, UMR6535, Centre d'Océanologie de Marseille, Aix Marseille Université, France
6Department of Natural Sciences, Linnaeus University, 39182 Kalmar, Sweden
7School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA
8Department of Biological Sciences and Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California 90089, USA
9Romberg Tiburon Center, San Francisco State University, Tiburon, California 94920, USA
10Department of Marine Biotechnology and Resources, National Sun Yat-sen University, Kaohsiung 80424, Taiwan
11Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717, USA
12Laboratorio de Ecología Bacteriana, Instituto de Ecología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico
13Departamento de Ecoloxía e Bioloxía Animal, Universidade de Vigo, 36310 Vigo, Spain
14Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Celsiusstrasse 1, 28359 Bremen, Germany
15Dept. of Aquatic Bioscience, University of Tokyo, Yayoi, Bunkyo, Tokyo, 113-8657, Japan
16Instituto Cavanilles de Biodiversidad y Biología Evolutiva, Universidad de Valencia, P.O. Box 22085, 46071 Valencia, Spain
17Department of Marine Science, University of Southern Mississippi, Stennis Space Center, Mississippi 39529, USA
18MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography/Applied Ocean Science and Engineering, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543, USA
19Leibniz Institute for Marine Sciences, Duesternbrooker Weg 20, 24105 Kiel, Germany
20College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331, USA
21Ocean Sciences Department, University of California, Santa Cruz, California 95064, USA
22University of Southampton, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, European Way, Southampton SO14 3ZH, UK
23Department of Ocean, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA 23529, USA
24Division of Environmental and Biomolecular Systems, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon 97239, USA
25National Oceanography Centre, Waterfront Campus, European Way, Southampton, SO14 3ZH, UK
26Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place, The Hoe, Plymouth PL1 3DH, UK
27Marine Biological Section, University of Copenhagen, 3000 Helsingør, Denmark
28Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, New York 10964, USA
29Marine Science Institute, University of Texas at Austin, Port Aransas, Texas 78382, USA
30Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, Miami, FL 33149, USA
*currently at: Department of Marine Sciences, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
**currently at: Department of Biology, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, North Dartmouth, Massachusetts 02747, USA

Abstract. Marine N2 fixing microorganisms, termed diazotrophs, are a key functional group in marine pelagic ecosystems. The biological fixation of dinitrogen (N2) to bioavailable nitrogen provides an important new source of nitrogen for pelagic marine ecosystems and influences primary productivity and organic matter export to the deep ocean. As one of a series of efforts to collect biomass and rates specific to different phytoplankton functional groups, we have constructed a database on diazotrophic organisms in the global pelagic upper ocean by compiling about 12 000 direct field measurements of cyanobacterial diazotroph abundances (based on microscopic cell counts or qPCR assays targeting the nifH genes) and N2 fixation rates. Biomass conversion factors are estimated based on cell sizes to convert abundance data to diazotrophic biomass. The database is limited spatially, lacking large regions of the ocean especially in the Indian Ocean. The data are approximately log-normal distributed, and large variances exist in most sub-databases with non-zero values differing 5 to 8 orders of magnitude. Lower mean N2 fixation rate was found in the North Atlantic Ocean than the Pacific Ocean. Reporting the geometric mean and the range of one geometric standard error below and above the geometric mean, the pelagic N2 fixation rate in the global ocean is estimated to be 62 (53–73) Tg N yr−1 and the pelagic diazotrophic biomass in the global ocean is estimated to be 4.7 (2.3–9.6) Tg C from cell counts and to 89 (40–200) Tg C from nifH-based abundances. Uncertainties related to biomass conversion factors can change the estimate of geometric mean pelagic diazotrophic biomass in the global ocean by about ±70%. This evolving database can be used to study spatial and temporal distributions and variations of marine N2 fixation, to validate geochemical estimates and to parameterize and validate biogeochemical models. The database is stored in PANGAEA (

Citation: Luo, Y.-W., Doney, S. C., Anderson, L. A., Benavides, M., Bode, A., Bonnet, S., Boström, K. H., Böttjer, D., Capone, D. G., Carpenter, E. J., Chen, Y. L., Church, M. J., Dore, J. E., Falcón, L. I., Fernández, A., Foster, R. A., Furuya, K., Gómez, F., Gundersen, K., Hynes, A. M., Karl, D. M., Kitajima, S., Langlois, R. J., LaRoche, J., Letelier, R. M., Marañón, E., McGillicuddy Jr., D. J., Moisander, P. H., Moore, C. M., Mouriño-Carballido, B., Mulholland, M. R., Needoba, J. A., Orcutt, K. M., Poulton, A. J., Raimbault, P., Rees, A. P., Riemann, L., Shiozaki, T., Subramaniam, A., Tyrrell, T., Turk-Kubo, K. A., Varela, M., Villareal, T. A., Webb, E. A., White, A. E., Wu, J., and Zehr, J. P.: Database of diazotrophs in global ocean: abundances, biomass and nitrogen fixation rates, Earth Syst. Sci. Data Discuss., 5, 47-106, doi:10.5194/essdd-5-47-2012, 2012.
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