DOM Sources, Sinks, Reactivity, and Budgets

Craig A. Carlson, Dennis A. Hansell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

167 Scopus citations


At 662. Pg. C, marine dissolved organic matter (DOM) represents the largest pool of reduced carbon and associated elements in the ocean. The flux of carbon and associated elements through the DOM pool operates on time scales that are both ecologically and biogeochemically relevant. As a byproduct of biological productivity a portion of autochthonous DOM production turns over rapidly, serving as a substrate that fuels heterotrophic microbial activity and the fast biogeochemical cycling of elements. Although >. 50% of the carbon fixed by photo and chemoautotrophy is routed through DOM and processed by heterotrophic microbes, there are numerous biotic and abiotic processes that also alter DOM reactivity, decoupling its production from consumption, resulting in its accumulation. The controls on the redistribution of DOM can play an important role in carbon export and it potential sequestration. This chapter reviews the many production and consumption processes that control the fluxes, accumulation, and inventory of DOM in the ocean. We review (1) the biotic mechanisms of DOM production, (2) the biotic and abiotic processes controlling DOM removal, (3) the numerous factors and processes leading to DOM accumulation, we then (4) examine DOM fractions in terms of biological lability and ecological and biogeochemical significance, and (5) describe our current understanding of the global ocean DOC budget.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBiogeochemistry of Marine Dissolved Organic Matter
Subtitle of host publicationSecond Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages62
ISBN (Print)9780124059405
StatePublished - 2015


  • Biological pump
  • DOC export
  • DOM bioavailability
  • Microbial food web
  • Ocean carbon cycle
  • Priming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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