, Volume 484, Issue 1, pp 21-31

First online:

The importance of silicon for marine production*

  • Svein KristiansenAffiliated withNFH, Breivika, University of Tromsø
  • , Espen Edward Hoell

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A review of silicon, with emphasis on its forms, uptake, dissolution and role in marine primary production, is given. The importance of silicon in marine food webs is discussed, as well as the concentrations of silicon in various areas and the importance of changing N:Si:P ratios. The methodology for measuring silicate transformations has recently been improved by the introduction of the highly enriched 32Si isotope. Results from uptake experiments using 32Si in nutrient rich coastal water and in open ocean are presented. The uptake kinetic experiments showed that the silicate uptake usually is unsaturated. We propose that closer attention in the future should be paid to the importance of balanced nutrient composition as well as nutrient supply dynamics for the development of eutrophication versus efficient trophic transfer and fish production in nutrient enriched systems. Close attention should also be paid to the mechanisms that reduce the inputs of silicate to coastal waters.

Silicate diatom review eutrophication nutrient ratios