Marine Science Faculty Publications

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dissolved organic matter, Gulf of Mexico, radiocarbon, dissolved organic carbon, 13C, oil spill

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Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) is of primary importance to marine ecosystems and the global carbon cycle. Stable carbon (δ13C) and radiocarbon (Δ14C) isotopic measurements are powerful tools for evaluating DOC sources and cycling. However, the isotopic signature of DOC in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) remains almost completely unknown. Here we present the first DOC Δ14C and δ13C depth profiles from the GOM. Our results suggest the Mississippi River exports large amounts of DOC with an anthropogenic “bomb” Δ14C signature. Riverine DOC is removed and recycled offshore, and some marine production of DOC is observed in the river plume. Offshore profiles show that DOC has higher Δ14C than its Caribbean feed waters, indicative of a modern deep DOC source in the GOM basin. Finally, high DOC with negative δ13C and Δ14C values were observed near the Macondo Wellhead, suggesting a transformation of Deepwater Horizon hydrocarbons into a persistent population of DOC.

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Geophysical Research Letters, v. 44, issue 16, p. 8424-8434

©2017. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

grl56269-sup-0001-2017gl074155-si.pdf (3933 kB)
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