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Glock, Nicolaas; Schönfeld, Joachim; Eisenhauer, Anton; Hensen, Christian; Mallon, Jürgen; Sommer, Stefan (2013): Benthic foraminiferal denitrification rates and nitrate storage. PANGAEA,, Supplement to: Glock, N et al. (2013): The role of benthic foraminifera in the benthic nitrogen cycle of the Peruvian oxygen minimum zone. Biogeosciences, 10(7), 4767-4783,

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The discovery that foraminifera are able to use nitrate instead of oxygen as energy source for their metabolism has challenged our understanding of nitrogen cycling in the ocean. It was evident before that only prokaryotes and fungi are able to denitrify. Rate estimates of foraminiferal denitrification were very sparse on a regional scale. Here, we present estimates of benthic foraminiferal denitrification rates from six stations at intermediate water depths in and below the Peruvian oxygen minimum zone (OMZ). Foraminiferal denitrification rates were calculated from abundance and assemblage composition of the total living fauna in both, surface and subsurface sediments, as well as from individual species specific denitrification rates. A comparison with total benthic denitrification rates as inferred by biogeochemical models revealed that benthic foraminifera account for the total denitrification on the shelf between 80 and 250 m water depth. They are still important denitrifiers in the centre of the OMZ around 320 m (29-56% of the benthic denitrification) but play only a minor role at the lower OMZ boundary and below the OMZ between 465 and 700 m (3-7% of total benthic denitrification). Furthermore, foraminiferal denitrification was compared to the total benthic nitrate loss measured during benthic chamber experiments. Foraminiferal denitrification contributes 1 to 50% to the total nitrate loss across a depth transect from 80 to 700 m, respectively. Flux rate estimates ranged from 0.01 to 1.3 mmol m-2 d-1. Furthermore we show that the amount of nitrate stored in living benthic foraminifera (3 to 705 µmol L-1) can be higher by three orders of magnitude as compared to the ambient pore waters in near surface sediments sustaining an important nitrate reservoir in Peruvian OMZ sediments. The substantial contribution of foraminiferal nitrate respiration to total benthic nitrate loss at the Peruvian margin, which is one of the main nitrate sink regions in the world oceans, underpins the importance of previously underestimated role of benthic foraminifera in global biochemical cycles.
Related to:
Mallon, Jürgen; Glock, Nicolaas; Schönfeld, Joachim (2011): Distribution of living benthic foraminifera in sediment cores of cruise M77 Leg 1 and 2, 63-2000 µm fraction. PANGAEA,
German Science Foundation (DFG), grant/award no. 27542298: Climate - Biogeochemistry Interactions in the Tropical Ocean
Median Latitude: -11.019221 * Median Longitude: -78.153359 * South-bound Latitude: -11.114333 * West-bound Longitude: -78.426830 * North-bound Latitude: -11.000000 * East-bound Longitude: -77.790000
Date/Time Start: 2008-11-03T19:40:00 * Date/Time End: 2008-11-16T15:00:00
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