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: Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 37 (L03608) pp. 1 - 5. AGU, 2010.
The Mediterranean Sea presents several biogeochemical anomalies compared to the global ocean. An unbalanced N budget, high nitrate/phosphate ratios in subsurface waters and low 15N/14N ratios in particulate and dissolved nitrogen suggest a significant occurrence of N2 fixation. This study presents, for the first time, a basin‐wide overview of direct measurements of N2 fixation, with values in the North Atlantic for comparison, during late spring 2007. Very low N2 fixation rates (0.052 0.031 nmols N l−1d−1) were observed in all sub‐regions of the Mediterranean, in contrast to the higher values measured in the North Atlantic (0.300 0.115 nmols N l−1d−1). Higher phosphorus (inorganic or organic) concentrations were not associated with higher N2 fixation rates. Low 15N/14N ratios in particulate organic nitrogen (from −2.10 to +4.11), associated with low N2 fixation rates, suggest that other N sources, such as atmospheric inputs, fuel the Mediterranean ecosystem.
URL: http://www.agu.org/journals/gl/
DOI: 10.1029/2009GL041635
Subject fissazione azoto molecolare
Nitrogen fixation

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