, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 401-415,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 11 Jun 2011

The Processing and Impact of Dissolved Riverine Nitrogen in the Arctic Ocean

Abstract

Although the Arctic Ocean is the most riverine-influenced of all of the world’s oceans, the importance of terrigenous nutrients in this environment is poorly understood. This study couples estimates of circumpolar riverine nutrient fluxes from the PARTNERS (Pan-Arctic River Transport of Nutrients, Organic Matter, and Suspended Sediments) Project with a regionally configured version of the MIT general circulation model to develop estimates of the distribution and availability of dissolved riverine N in the Arctic Ocean, assess its importance for primary production, and compare these estimates to potential bacterial production fueled by riverine C. Because riverine dissolved organic nitrogen is remineralized slowly, riverine N is available for uptake well into the open ocean. Despite this, we estimate that even when recycling is considered, riverine N may support 0.5–1.5 Tmol C year−1 of primary production, a small proportion of total Arctic Ocean photosynthesis. Rapid uptake of dissolved inorganic nitrogen coupled with relatively high rates of dissolved organic nitrogen regeneration in N-limited nearshore regions, however, leads to potential localized rates of riverine-supported photosynthesis that represent a substantial proportion of nearshore production.