Calibration of Nitrogen Stable Isotopes and N-dynamics in a Western Boundary Current System (Brazil) during the Holocene

Tuesday, 15 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Ana Luiza Albuquerque and Luciane Fontana, UFF Federal Fluminense University, Geoquimica, Niteroi, Brazil
This research documents changes in relative nitrate utilization and sources based on δ15N of nitrate and sinking particles in an oligotrophic Western Boundary to improve the efficience of the δ15N to provide an understanding of the N-dynamic during the Holocene from sediment records. The Continental Shelf of Southeastern Brazil is dominated by the oligotrophic Brazil Current, whose instabilities promote an untypical western boundary upwelling of South Atlantic Central Water (SACW) and consequently increases of primary productivity. The inorganic nitrogen concentration and the δ15N­nitrate and δ15N of sinking particles was characterized for each water masses present on the shelf (SACW, Tropical Water and Coastal Water). Cross­shelf gradients of nitrogen concentration and stable isotopes were observed. The SACW showed δ15N­nitrate signature around 5­6‰ characterizing the inner and mid­shelf conditions, where the input of new nitrate from upwelling is rapidly used by organisms in the euphotic zone without any fractionation. On the other hands, the dominance of N­ limited TW on the outer shelf provided a δ15N­nitrate and δ15N­sinking particles signals (­2.0 to 3.0‰) lower than the SACW average indicating N­fixation as a dominant source of nitrogen. The δ15N fractionation during upwelling events are also identified, but in smaller scale. The information of preliminary δ15N results from Holocene sediment record along a cross-shelf gradient showed values ranging from 3 to 8 ‰. In general, the tendency of low values recorded in middle Holocene indicates low availability of N during these low productivity stages. These results agreed pretty well with the δ13C records. In contrast, during late Holocene the values were heavy, probably indicating another processes (e.g. complete use of N-pool), which are still under investigation in association with another proxies (e.g. degraded pigments, opal, CaCO3).