On the Relationship Between Hydrogen Saturation in the Tropical Atlantic Ocean and Nitrogen Fixation by the Symbiotic Diazotroph UCYN-A

Moore, R.M. and Grefe, I. and Zorz, J. and Shan, S. and Thompson, K. and Ratten, J. and LaRoche, J. (2018) On the Relationship Between Hydrogen Saturation in the Tropical Atlantic Ocean and Nitrogen Fixation by the Symbiotic Diazotroph UCYN-A. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 123 (4). pp. 2353-2362. ISSN 8755-8556

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Dissolved hydrogen measurements were made at high resolution in surface waters along a tropical north Atlantic transect between Guadeloupe and Cape Verde in 2015 (Meteor 116). Parallel water samples acquired to assess the relative abundance of the nifH gene from several types of diazotrophs, indicated that Trichodesmium and UCYN‐A were dominant in this region. We show that a high degree of correlation exists between the hydrogen saturations and UCYN‐A nifH abundance, and a weak correlation with Trichodesmium . The findings suggest that nitrogen fixation by UCYN‐A is a major contributor to hydrogen supersaturations in this region of the ocean. The ratio of hydrogen released to nitrogen fixed has not been determined for this symbiont, but the indications are that it may be high in comparison with the small number of diazotrophs for which the ratio has been measured in laboratory cultures. We speculate that this would be consistent with the diazotroph being an exosymbiont on its haptophyte host. Our high resolution measurements of hydrogen concentrations are capable of illustrating the time and space scales of inferred activity of diazotrophs in near real‐time in a way that cannot be achieved by biological sampling and rate measurements requiring incubations with 15N2. Direct measurement of high resolution spatial variability would be relatively challenging through collection and analysis of biological samples by qPCR, and extremely challenging by 15N‐uptake techniques, neither of which methods yields real‐time data. Nonetheless, determination of fixation rates still firmly depends on the established procedure of incubations in the presence of 15N2.

Item Type:
Journal Article
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Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
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An edited version of this paper was published by AGU. Copyright 2018 American Geophysical Union. Moore, R. M., Grefe, I., Zorz, J., Shan, S., Thompson, K., Ratten, J., & LaRoche, J. (2018). On the relationship between hydrogen saturation in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and nitrogen fixation by the symbiotic diazotroph UCYN‐A. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 123, 2353‐ 2362. https://doi.org/10.1002/2017JC013047
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21 Sep 2020 10:30
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17 Sep 2023 02:51