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Journal Articles Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography Year : 2002

DOC dynamics in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea (DYFAMED site)


Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) distribution and dynamics are investigated at the DYFAMED site (central Ligurian Sea, NW Mediterranean) in relation to hydrological and biological contexts, using a 4-year time-series dataset (1991-1994). The DYFAMED site is regarded as a one-dimensional station where simple hydrological mechanisms prevail and where the ecosystem is quite well understood. An average vertical profile of DOC concentration ([DOC]) indicates that maximal concentrations and variability are concentrated in the surface layers. For depths >800 m, the annual variations are on average similar to the analytical standard deviation (∼2 μM). The "composite" [DOC] distribution (average distribution over a typical year, integrating about 40 monthly profiles) for surface waters (0-200 m) is closely related to hydrological and phytoplanktonic forcings. It exhibits summer DOC accumulation in surface waters, due to spring-summer stratification and successive phytoplanktonic events such as spring and summer blooms, and winter DOC removal to deeper waters, due to intense vertical mixing. The analysis of vertical [DOC] gradient at 100-m depth as a function of the integrated DOC content in the 0-100-m layer makes it possible to objectively distinguish three specific periods: the winter vertical mixing period, the period of stratification and spring phytoplankton bloom, and the period of stratification re-inforcement and summer-fall phytoplankton bloom. We recalculate the vertical DOC fluxes to deep waters using a larger original dataset, after the first direct calculation (Deep-Sea Res. 40 (10) (1993) 1963, 1972) that was reproduced for other oceanic areas. The seasonal variations of the "composite" [DOC] distribution in surface waters are significantly correlated to the apparent oxygen utilization distribution, but the biogeochemical significance of such a correlation is still under examination. The global significance of our local findings is presented and the role of the oceanic DOC in the global carbon cycle is emphasized, especially with respect to several current issues, such as the oceanic "missing sink" and the equivalence between new production and exported production.

Dates and versions

insu-03634579 , version 1 (07-04-2022)



Bernard Avril. DOC dynamics in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea (DYFAMED site). Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 2002, 49, pp.2163-2182. ⟨10.1016/S0967-0645(02)00033-4⟩. ⟨insu-03634579⟩
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