Composition of dissolved organic matter along an Atlantic Meridional Transect from fluorescence spectroscopy and Parallel Factor Analysis
AbstractAbsorption spectra and induced fluorescence excitation emission matrices of colored dissolved organic matter were measured in water samples collected along the Atlantic Meridional Transect in different bio-geographic provinces of the Atlantic Ocean from October to November 2010. The highest values of CDOM absorption coefficient at 305 nm (aCDOM(305)), were recorded at the continental margins of the English Channel and Patagonian Shelf. The lowest values of aCDOM(305) were observed in the mixed layer of both North and South Atlantic subtropical oligotrophic gyres. The DOM composition was assessed using fluorescence spectroscopy, Excitation Emission Matrix spectra (EEMs) and the Parallel Factor Analysis (PARAFAC) model in addition to spectral indices calculated from CDOM absorption spectrum and EEMs. Six different components were identified in the EEMs by PARAFAC: Two components were similar to the humic-like fraction of DOM, associated with basin scale microbial mineralization processes. These components represent allochthonous DOM in the biogeographic provinces studied. One component of marine humic-like material of autochthonous origin was associated with DOM production from marine phytoplankton. Three components were associated with protein-like DOM. Two protein-like components had the spectral characteristics of pure tryptophan and tyrosine. There was a significant difference in DOM composition both between bio-geographical provinces and above and below the mixed layer. In the mixed layer in all provinces, except the waters of the Western European Shelf, the DOM was dominated by protein-like components. At the Western European Shelf, it was dominated by humic-like components. Fluorescence intensities of humic-like components were high at the Patagonian Shelf, but were up to 40% lower compared to northern hemisphere shelf waters. Humic-like components made a significant contribution to the DOM composition of the upper mesopelagic layer in all provinces, with the highest values at the Equatorial Upwelling Zone. There was a significant inverse relationship between humic-like components and salinity and temperature and a positive relationship with Apparent Oxygen Utilization. The humification index (HIX) was linearly correlated with the intensity of the humic-like DOM components. These trends suggest that the humic-like components are in dynamic equilibrium between likely microbial production in the deep ocean and photochemical degradation in the mixed layer.