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Ocean Science An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2017-32
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
17 May 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Ocean Science (OS).
Dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) and dimethylsulfide (DMS) cycling across contrasting biological hotspots of the New Zealand Subtropical Front
Martine Lizotte1, Maurice Levasseur1, Cliff S. Law2,5, Carolyn F. Walker2, Karl A. Safi3, Andrew Marriner2, and Ronald P. Kiene4 1Université Laval, Department of biology (Québec-Océan), Québec City, Québec, Canada
2National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Wellington, New Zealand
3National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Hamilton, New Zealand
4University of South Alabama, Department of Marine Sciences, Mobile, USA
5University of Otago, Department of Chemistry, Dunedin, New Zealand
Abstract. The oceanic frontal region above the Chatham Rise east of New Zealand was investigated during the late austral summer season in February and March 2012. Despite its potential importance as a source of marine-originating and climate-relevant compounds, such as dimethylsulfide (DMS) and its algal precursor dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP), little is known of the processes fuelling the reservoirs of these sulfur (S) compounds in the water masses bordering the Subtropical Front (STF). This study focused on the two opposing fates of DMSP-S following its uptake by microbial organisms: either its conversion into DMS, or its assimilation into bacterial biomass. Sampling took place in three phytoplankton blooms (B1, B2 and B3) with B1 and B3 occurring in relatively nitrate-rich, dinoflagellate-dominated Subantarctic waters, and B2 occurring in nitrate-poor Subtropical waters dominated by coccolithophores. Concentrations of total DMSP (DMSPt) and DMS were high across the region, up to 160 nmol L−1 and 14.5 nmol−1, respectively. Pools of DMSPt measured in this study showed a strong association with overall phytoplankton biomass proxied by chlorophyll a (rs = 0.83) likely because of the persistent dominance of dinoflagellates and coccolithophores, both DMSP-rich taxa. Heterotrophic microbes displayed low S assimilation from DMSP (less than 5 %) likely because their S requirements were fulfilled by high DMSP availability. Rates of bacterial protein synthesis were significantly correlated with concentrations of dissolved DMSP (DMSPd, rs = 0.86) as well as with the microbial conversion efficiency of DMSPd into DMS (DMS yield, rs = 0.84). Estimates of the potential contribution of microbially-mediated rates of DMS production (0.1–27 nmol L−1 d−1) to the near-surface concentrations of DMS suggest that bacteria alone could not have sustained DMS pools at most stations, indicating an important role for phytoplankton-mediated DMS production. The findings from this study provide crucial information on the distribution and cycling of DMS and DMSP in a critically under-sampled area of the global ocean, and they highlight the importance of oceanic fronts as hotspots of the production of marine biogenic S compounds and as potential sources of aerosols particularly in regions of low anthropogenic perturbations such as the frontal waters of the Southern Hemisphere.

Citation: Lizotte, M., Levasseur, M., Law, C. S., Walker, C. F., Safi, K. A., Marriner, A., and Kiene, R. P.: Dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) and dimethylsulfide (DMS) cycling across contrasting biological hotspots of the New Zealand Subtropical Front, Ocean Sci. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2017-32, in review, 2017.
Martine Lizotte et al.
Martine Lizotte et al.
Martine Lizotte et al.

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Short summary
During a 4-week oceanographic cruise in 2012, we investigated the water masses bordering the Subtropical Front near New Zealand as sources of the biogenic gas dimethylsulfide (DMS). DMS oxidation products may influence the atmospheric radiative budget of the Earth. Concentrations of DMS were high in the study region and DMS’s precursor, dimethylsulfoniopropionate, showed a strong association with phytoplankton biomass in relation to the persistent dominance of dinoflagellates/coccolithophores.
During a 4-week oceanographic cruise in 2012, we investigated the water masses bordering the...
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