Distribution, Source and Fate of Dissolved Organic Matter in Shelf Seas
Using samples collected across the Northwest European Shelf Sea, we studied the distribution, source, seasonality and potential fate of DOM using a combination of analytical tools, including analysis of amino acids, DOM absorbance spectra and excitation emission matrices, in conjunction with parallel factor analysis (PARAFAC). Strong cross shelf and seasonal gradients in DOM source and lability were found. We observed a strong seasonally dependent significant correlation between salinity and terrestrial DOM in the bottom mixed layer, an enrichment of DOM at the shelf edge in winter and a three-fold increase in fresh marine DOM coinciding with the timing of a spring bloom. Together, our findings illustrate the dynamic nature of DOM in shelf seas over a seasonal cycle and, highlight the potential for DOM to play a key role in the carbon cycle in these regions.