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Biogeochemical controls of surface ocean phosphate

Martiny, AC, Lomas, MW, Fu, W, Boyd, PW ORCID: 0000-0001-7850-1911, Chen, YlL, Cutter, GA, Ellwood, MJ, Furuya, K, Hashihama, F, Kanda, J, Karl, DM, Kodama, T, Li, QP, Ma, J, Moutin, T, Woodward, EMS and Moore, JK 2019 , 'Biogeochemical controls of surface ocean phosphate' , Science Advances, vol. 5, no. 8 , pp. 1-10 , doi:

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Surface ocean phosphate is commonly below the standard analytical detection limits, leading to an incomplete picture of the global variation and biogeochemical role of phosphate. A global compilation of phosphate measured using high-sensitivity methods revealed several previously unrecognized low-phosphate areas and clear regional differences. Both observational climatologies and Earth system models (ESMs) systematically overestimated surface phosphate. Furthermore, ESMs misrepresented the relationships between phosphate, phytoplankton biomass, and primary productivity. Atmospheric iron input and nitrogen fixation are known important controls on surface phosphate, but model simulations showed that differences in the iron-to-macronutrient ratio in the vertical nutrient supply and surface lateral transport are additional drivers of phosphate concentrations. Our study demonstrates the importance of accurately quantifying nutrients for understanding the regulation of ocean ecosystems and biogeochemistry now and under future climate conditions.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Martiny, AC and Lomas, MW and Fu, W and Boyd, PW and Chen, YlL and Cutter, GA and Ellwood, MJ and Furuya, K and Hashihama, F and Kanda, J and Karl, DM and Kodama, T and Li, QP and Ma, J and Moutin, T and Woodward, EMS and Moore, JK
Keywords: phosphate, oligotrophic, ocean, phytoplankton
Journal or Publication Title: Science Advances
Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
ISSN: 2375-2548
DOI / ID Number:
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Copyright © 2019 The Authors. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) license (

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