Allochthonous sources and dynamic cycling of ocean dissolved organic carbon revealed by carbon isotopes Academic Article uri icon


  • We present concentration and isotopic profiles of total, size, and polarity fractionated dissolved organic carbon (DOC) from Station ALOHA (A Long-term Oligotrophic Habitat Assessment), an oligotrophic site in the North Pacific Ocean. The data show that, between the surface and 3500?m, low molecular weight (LMW) hydrophilic DOC, LMW hydrophobic DOC, and high molecular weight (HMW) DOC constitute 22–33%, 45–52%, and 23–35% of DOC, respectively. LMW hydrophilic DOC is more isotopically depleted (?13C of ?23.9‰ to ?31.5‰ and ?14C of ?304‰ to ?795‰; mean age of 2850 to 15000 years) than the LMW hydrophobic DOC (?13C of ?22‰ to ?23‰ and ?14C of ?270‰ to ?568‰; 2470 to 6680?years) and HMW DOC (?13C of ~?21‰ and ?14C of ?24‰ to ?294‰; 135–2700?years). Our analyses suggest that a large fraction of DOC may be derived from allochthonous sources such as terrestrial and hydrothermal DOC and cycle on much longer time scales of >10000?years or enter the ocean as preaged carbon.

publication date

  • March 16, 2017