Document Type

Article

Department/Program

Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date

2007

Journal

BIOGEOSCIENCES

Volume

4

Issue

3

First Page

283

Last Page

296

Abstract

Relative to inorganic nitrogen, concentrations of dissolved organic nitrogen ( DON) are often high, even in regions believed to be nitrogen-limited. The persistence of these high concentrations led to the view that the DON pool was largely refractory and therefore unimportant to plankton nutrition. Any DON that was utilized was believed to fuel bacterial production. More recent work, however, indicates that fluxes into and out of the DON pool can be large, and that the constancy in concentration is a function of tightly coupled production and consumption processes. Evidence is also accumulating which indicates that phytoplankton, including a number of harmful species, may obtain a substantial part of their nitrogen nutrition from organic compounds. Ongoing research includes ways to discriminate between autotrophic and heterotrophic utilization, as well as a number of mechanisms, such as cell surface enzymes and photochemical decomposition, that could facilitate phytoplankton use of DON components.

Keywords

DISSOLVED ORGANIC NITROGEN; BIOLOGICALLY AVAILABLE NITROGEN; SOUTHEASTERN UNITED-STATES; RIVERINE HUMIC SUBSTANCES; FLOW-CYTOMETRIC ANALYSIS; FREE AMINO-ACIDS; CYLINDROTHECA-FUSIFORMIS BACILLARIOPHYCEAE; DINOFLAGELLATE ALEXANDRIUM CATENELLA; SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA BIGHT; HARMFUL ALGAL BLOOMS

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