Chromophoric Dissolved Organic Matter across a Marine Distributed Biological Observatory in the Pacific Arctic Region

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Samuel L Berman, Clark University, Worcester, MA, United States, Karen E Frey, Clark University, Graduate School of Geography, Worcester, MA, United States, Kristen Laurel Shake, Clark Labs, Worcester, MA, United States, Lee W Cooper, Univ Maryland, Solomons, MD, United States and Jacqueline M Grebmeier, Univ MD Center Enviro Science, Solomons, MD, United States
Dissolved organic matter (DOM) plays an important role in marine ecosystems as both a carbon source for the microbial food web (and thus a source of CO2 to the atmosphere) and as a light inhibitor in marine environments. The presence of chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM; the optically active portion of total DOM) can have significant controlling effects on transmittance of sunlight through the water column and therefore on primary production as well as the heat balance of the upper ocean. However, CDOM is also susceptible to photochemical degradation, which decreases the flux of solar radiation that is absorbed. Knowledge of the current spatial and temporal distribution of CDOM in marine environments is thus critical for understanding how ongoing and future changes in climate may impact these biological, biogeochemical, and physical processes. We describe the quantity and quality of CDOM along five key productive transects across a developing Distributed Biological Observatory (DBO) in the Pacific Arctic region. The samples were collected onboard the CCGS Sir Wilfred Laurier in July 2013 and 2014. Monitoring of the variability of CDOM along transects of high productivity can provide important insights into biological and biogeochemical cycling across the region. Our analyses include overall concentrations of CDOM, as well as proxy information such as molecular weight, lability, and source (i.e., autochthonous vs. allochthonous) of organic matter. We utilize these field observations to compare with satellite-derived CDOM concentrations determined from the Aqua MODIS satellite platform, which ultimately provides a spatially and temporally continuous synoptic view of CDOM concentrations throughout the region. Examining the current relationships among CDOM, sea ice variability, biological productivity, and biogeochemical cycling in the Pacific Arctic region will likely provide key insights for how ecosystems throughout the region will respond in future scenarios of climate change.