Nitrogen Cycle: 21st-century rise in anthropogenic nitrogen deposition on a remote coral reef

Haojia Ren, Yi Chi Chen, Xingchen T. Wang, George T.F. Wong, Anne L. Cohen, Thomas M. DeCarlo, Mira A. Weigand, Horng Sheng Mii, Daniel M. Sigman

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Abstract

With the rapid rise in pollution-associated nitrogen inputs to the western Pacific, it has been suggested that even the open ocean has been affected. In a coral core from Dongsha Atoll, a remote coral reef ecosystem, we observe a decline in the 15N/14N of coral skeleton-bound organic matter, which signals increased deposition of anthropogenic atmospheric N on the open ocean and its incorporation into plankton and, in turn, the atoll corals. The first clear change occurred just before 2000 CE, decades later than predicted by other work. The amplitude of change suggests that, by 2010, anthropogenic atmospheric N deposition represented 20 ± 5% of the annual N input to the surface ocean in this region, which appears to be at the lower end of other estimates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)749-752
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume356
Issue number6339
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017 May 19

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Cite this

Ren, H., Chen, Y. C., Wang, X. T., Wong, G. T. F., Cohen, A. L., DeCarlo, T. M., Weigand, M. A., Mii, H. S., & Sigman, D. M. (2017). Nitrogen Cycle: 21st-century rise in anthropogenic nitrogen deposition on a remote coral reef. Science, 356(6339), 749-752. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aal3869