Istituto di Scienze Marine     
Ibello V., Cantoni C., Cozzi S., Civitarese G. First basin-wide experimental results on N2-fixation in the open Mediterranean Sea. In: AIOL - XIX Congresso della Associazione Italiana di Oceanologia e Limnologia (Venezia, 22-25/09 2009). Abstract, pp. 112 - 112. Atti AIOL, 2009.
Mediterranean Sea presents several biogeochemical anomalies compared to the global ocean. Unbalanced N budget, high nitrate/phosphate ratios in subsurface waters and light isotopic signals in particulate and dissolved nitrogen have suggested a relevant occurrence of N2-fixation. This study presents, for the first time, N2-fixation rate measurements in the open Mediterranean Sea on a basin scale during early summer, compared to one site in the North Atlantic. Very low rates (0.0520.031 nmols N l-1d-1) were observed in all sub-regions of the Mediterranean, unlike the higher values measured in the North Atlantic surface waters (0.3000.115 nmols N l-1d-1). No evidence of phosphate limitation emerges from this study. Low N2-fixation rates associated to light isotopic composition of PON (from -2.10 to 4.11) suggest that other light N sources, different from atmospheric N2, fuel the Mediterranean ecosystem.
Subject nitrogen fixation

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