Dissolved organic carbon and nitrogen in the Western Black Sea

Hugh W. Ducklow, Dennis A. Hansell, Jessica A. Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Dissolved organic carbon and nitrogen (DOC and DON) concentrations were measured in the Black Sea during May-June 2001. Sampling was conducted along a Shelf-Gyre transect, and was focused at the suboxic-anoxic interface at the deep stations; hypotheses were tested regarding trends in these variables across the transect and between sub-surface water layers. DOC and DON concentrations were higher (272 μM and 15 μM, respectively) on the Shelf compared to the Gyre (200 μM and 11 μM, respectively), as a result of terrigenous inputs and in situ net production. The bulk DOC:DON ratio was constant with distance and depth (approximately 15-19). DOM concentrations decreased with depth (average anoxic layer concentrations of 123 μM and 6.1 μM for DOC and DON, respectively), in contrast to earlier observations of increasing DOC concentration with depth. The deep Basin (2000 m) DOC concentrations were high compared to deep open ocean values (120 vs 45 μM). We suggest that the high deep DOC is a product of mixing of terrigenous (300 μM) and Aegean Sea (60 μM) DOC, with some in situ decomposition over the 600 year residence time for the deep water mass. High surface concentrations of DOC and DON and high DOC:DON ratios throughout the sampling region indicate the pervasive influence of remnant terrigenous DOM with some net production. The timescales for DOM Shelf-Basin exchange and decomposition could not be estimated due to a lack of geochemical tracer data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)140-150
Number of pages11
JournalMarine Chemistry
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Apr 25 2007


  • Black Sea
  • DOC
  • DON

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology


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