Mentges, Andrea and Feenders, C. and Deutsch, C. and Blasius, B. and Dittmar, Thorsten (2019) Long-term stability of marine dissolved organic carbon emerges from a neutral network of compounds and microbes. Scientific Reports, 9 (1). ISSN 2045-2322

- Published Version

Volltext (2228Kb)


Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) is the main energy source for marine heterotrophic microorganisms, but a small fraction of DOC resists microbial degradation and accumulates in the ocean. The reason behind this recalcitrance is unknown. We test whether the long-term stability of DOC requires the existence of structurally refractory molecules, using a mechanistic model comprising a diverse network of microbe-substrate interactions. Model experiments reproduce three salient observations, even when all DOC compounds are equally degradable: (i) >15% of an initial DOC pulse resists degradation, but is consumed by microbes if concentrated, (ii) the modelled deep-sea DOC reaches stable concentrations of 30–40 mmolC/m3, and (iii) the mean age of deep-sea DOC is several times the age of deep water with a wide range from <100 to >10,000 years. We conclude that while structurally-recalcitrant molecules exist, they are not required in the model to explain either the amount or longevity of DOC.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Publiziert mit Hilfe des DFG-geförderten Open Access-Publikationsfonds der Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg.
Subjects: Science and mathematics > Chemistry
Science and mathematics > Earth sciences and geology
Science and mathematics > Life sciences, biology
Divisions: Faculty of Mathematics and Science > Institute for Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment (ICBM)
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2020 11:54
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2020 11:54
URN: urn:nbn:de:gbv:715-oops-46296
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-54290-z

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Document Downloads

More statistics for this item...