Vanadium Cycling in the Western Arctic Ocean is Influenced By Shelf-Basin Connectivity

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Ocean Science and Engineering


Water in the western Arctic Ocean tends to show lower dissolved vanadium concentrations than profiles observed elsewhere in the open ocean. Dissolved V in Pacific-derived basin waters was depleted by approximately 15–30% from the effective Pacific Ocean endmember. The depletion originates on western Arctic shelves and is not a result of mixing with a water mass with low V. While biological uptake may account for some of the V removal from the water column, adsorption onto particulate Fe is likely the dominant factor in removing V from shelf waters to the sediments. Once in the sediments, reduction should result in sequestering the V while Fe (and Mn) can be remobilized. A similar Fe-shuttling mechanism for V was previously described for the Peru margin (Scholz et al. 2011). Off the shelves, particulate Mn concentrations often exceed particulate Fe concentrations and thus may exert greater control on the V distribution in basin waters. Nonetheless, particulate V concentrations are much lower in basin waters and dissolved V thus behaves largely conservatively away from the shelf environment. Dissolved V concentrations in Atlantic-derived and Arctic deep waters were as much as 5 nmol/kg lower than those observed in deep waters of other ocean basins. The uniformity in deep water dissolved V between the sampled basins suggests that slow removal of V from the deep basins is probably not a factor in the deep water depletion. Vanadium-depleted incoming Atlantic waters (i.e., the source of Arctic deep waters) and/or removal of vanadium from incoming waters that pass over the shelves probably accounts for the deep water dissolved V depletion. Overall, our results demonstrate the utility of the V distribution as an additional tool to help understand the Arctic marine system. Furthermore, our work is pertinent to questions related to the net effect of marginal basin shelves on oceanic vanadium cycling, its isotopic balance, and how climate-induced changes in shelf biogeochemical cycling will impact vanadium cycling.

Publication Title

Marine Chemistry



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