Seasonal and spatial distribution of particulate organic matter (POM) in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas

Nicholas R. Bates, Dennis A. Hansell, S. Bradley Moran, Louis A. Codispoti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


As part of the Western Arctic Shelf-Basin Interactions (SBI) project, the production and fate of organic carbon and nitrogen from the Chukchi and Beaufort Sea shelves were investigated during spring (5 May-15 June) and summer (15 July-25 August) cruises in 2002. Seasonal observations of suspended particulate organic carbon (POC) and nitrogen (PON) and large-particle (>53 μm) size class suggest that there was a large accumulation of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) between spring and summer in the surface mixed layer due to high phytoplankton productivity. Considerable organic matter appeared to be transported from the shelf into the Arctic Ocean basin in an elevated POC and PON layer at the top of the upper halocline. Seasonal changes in the molar carbon:nitrogen (C:N) ratio of the suspended particulate organic matter (POM) pool reflect a change in the quality of the organic material that was present and presumably being exported to the sediment and to Arctic Ocean waters adjacent to the Chukchi and Beaufort Sea shelves. In spring, low particulate C:N ratios (<6; i.e., N rich) were observed in nitrate-replete surface waters. By the summer, localized high particulate C:N ratios (>9; i.e., N-poor) were observed in nitrate-depleted surface waters. Low POC and inorganic nutrient concentrations observed in the surface layer suggest that rates of primary, new and export production are low in the Canada Basin region of the Arctic Ocean.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3324-3343
Number of pages20
JournalDeep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography
Issue number24-26
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • Arctic Ocean
  • C:N stoichiometry
  • Chukchi Sea
  • Ocean carbon cycle
  • Particulate matter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography


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