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Free Content Shell growth rates of pteropod and heteropod molluscs and aragonite production in the open ocean: Implications for the marine carbonate system

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Shell calcification rates of four species of euthecosomatous pteropods and two species of shelled heteropods were measured in short-term 45Ca uptake experiments. In subtropical, temperate, and subarctic waters of the North Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean, animals were hand-collected by Scuba divers, captured with the use of a submersible and caught in plankton nets. Shell growth rates of pteropods ranged from 1.1 to 7.8 g Ca deposited (mg Ca shell)−1 h−1. Heteropod growth rates ranged from 4.6 to 4.9 g Ca deposited (mg Ca shell)−1 h−1.

Aragonite production of shelled pteropods and heteropods at stations in the eastern Equatorial Pacific, North Pacific Central Water and the Tongue of the Ocean, Bahamas, was estimated using the instantaneous growth rate method. At all stations, pteropods were 3 to 9 times more abundant than heteropods and constituted 65 to 96% of aragonite production. Estimates of aragonite production ranged from 2.1 to 6.9 mg CaCO3 m−2 d−1. Using weighted averages based on two broad divisions of oceanic productivity, results were compared to reported aragonite fluxes measured with sediment traps. The data indicate that a source of alkalinity other than the dissolution of pteropod and heteropod aragonite is needed to supply the majority of a published estimate of CaCO3 dissolution in the water column of the North Pacific.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 1990

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  • The Journal of Marine Research, one of the oldest journals in American marine science, publishes peer-reviewed research articles covering a broad array of topics in physical, biological and chemical oceanography. Articles that deal with processes, as well as those that report significant observations, are welcome. Biological studies involving coupling between ecological and physical processes are preferred over those that report systematics. The editors strive always to serve authors and readers in the academic oceanographic community by publishing papers vital to the marine research in the long and rich tradition of the Sears Foundation for Marine Research. We welcome you to the Journal of Marine Research.
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