Insights into Seasonal Variations in Phosphorus Concentrations and Cycling in Monterey Bay
Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Phosphorus (P) is an essential nutrient for life as it is a structural constituent in many cell components and a key player in cellular energy metabolism. Therefore, P availability can impact primary productivity. Here we quantify dissolved and particulate P compounds and trace P sources and cycling in Monterey Bay over the course of a year. This time series gives insights into monthly and seasonal variations in the surface water chemistry of this region. Preliminary characterization of seawater samples involves measuring total P and soluble reactive P (SRP) concentrations. 31P nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (31P NMR) is used to determine the chemical structure of organic phosphorus compounds present in surface seawater. The isotopic signature of phosphatic oxygen (δ18Op) is used as a proxy for studying P cycling and sources. Oxygen isotope ratios in phosphate are determined by continuous-flow isotope mass ratio spectrometry (CF-IRMS) following purification of dissolved P from seawater samples and precipitation as silver phosphate. We expect to observe seasonal changes in P concentrations, as well as differences in organic P composition and P sources. The chemical structure of organic P compounds will affect their bioavailability and thus the extent to which they can fuel primary productivity in Monterey Bay. δ18Op will reflect source signatures and provide information on turnover rates of P in surface waters. Results from this work will provide valuable insights into seasonal changes in P cycling in surface waters and have important implications for understanding primary productivity in the Monterey Bay ecosystem.