Temporal dynamics of dissolved combined neutral sugars and the quality of dissolved organic matter in the Northwestern Sargasso Sea

Stuart J. Goldberg, Craig A. Carlson, Dennis A. Hansell, Norm B. Nelson, David A. Siegel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


The dynamics of dissolved combined neutral sugars (DCNS) were assessed in the upper 250m at the Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study (BATS) site between 2001 and 2004. Our results reveal a regular annual pattern of DCNS accumulation with concentrations increasing at a rate of 0.009-0.012μmolCL -1d -1 in the surface 40m from March to July and reaching maximum mean concentrations of 2.2-3.3μmolCL -1. Winter convective mixing (between January and March) annually exported surface-accumulated DCNS to the upper mesopelagic zone (100-250m), as concentrations increased there by 0.3-0.6μmolCL -1. The exported DCNS was subsequently removed over a period of weeks following restratification of the water column. Vertical and temporal trends in DCNS yield (% of DOC) supported its use as a diagenetic indicator of DOM quality. Higher DCNS yields in surface waters suggested a portion of the DOM accumulated relatively recently compared to the more recalcitrant material of the upper mesopelagic that had comparably lower yields. DCNS yields and mol% neutral sugar content, together, indicated differences in the diagenetic state of the surface-accumulated and deep pools of DOM. Seasonally accumulated, recently produced DOM with higher DCNS yields was characterized by elevated mol% of galactose and mannose+xylose levels. Conversely, more recalcitrant DOM from depths >100m had lower DCNS yields but higher mol% of glucose. Lower DCNS yields and elevated mol% glucose were also observed in the surface waters during winter convective mixing, indicating an entrainment of a diagenetically altered DOM pool into the upper 100m. A multivariate statistical analysis confirms the use of DCNS as an index of shifts in DOM quality at this site.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)672-685
Number of pages14
JournalDeep-Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2009


  • Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study (BATS) site
  • Bioavailability
  • Dissolved combined neutral sugars (DCNS)
  • Dissolved organic matter (DOM)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science


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