Factors determining the vertical profile of dimethylsulfide in the Sargasso Sea during summer

A. J. Gabric, P. A. Matrai, R. P. Kiene, R. Cropp, J. W.H. Dacey, G. R. DiTullio, R. G. Najjar, R. Simó, D. A. Toole, D. A. delValle, D. Slezak

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27 Scopus citations


The major source of reduced sulfur in the remote marine atmosphere is the biogenic compound dimethylsulfide (DMS), which is ubiquitous in the world's oceans and released through food web interactions. Relevant fluxes and concentrations of DMS, its phytoplankton-produced precursor, dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) and related parameters were measured during an intensive Lagrangian field study in two mesoscale eddies in the Sargasso Sea during July-August 2004, a period characterized by high mixed-layer DMS and low chlorophyll-the so-called 'DMS summer paradox'. We used a 1-D vertically variable DMS production model forced with output from a 1-D vertical mixing model to evaluate the extent to which the simulated vertical structure in DMS and DMSP was consistent with changes expected from field-determined rate measurements of individual processes, such as photolysis, microbial DMS and dissolved DMSP turnover, and air-sea gas exchange. Model numerical experiments and related parametric sensitivity analyses suggested that the vertical structure of the DMS profile in the upper 60 m was determined mainly by the interplay of the two depth-variable processes-vertical mixing and photolysis-and less by biological consumption of DMS. A key finding from the model calibration was the need to increase the DMS(P) algal exudation rate constant, which includes the effects of cell rupture due to grazing and cell lysis, to significantly higher values than previously used in other regions. This was consistent with the small algal cell size and therefore high surface area-to-volume ratio of the dominant DMSP-producing group-the picoeukaryotes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1505-1518
Number of pages14
JournalDeep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography
Issue number10-13
StatePublished - May 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography


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