Coralline algae are a globally significant pool of marine dimethylated sulphur

Burdett, H. L., Hatton, A. D. and Kamenos, N. A. (2015) Coralline algae are a globally significant pool of marine dimethylated sulphur. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 29(10), pp. 1845-1853. (doi: 10.1002/2015GB005274)

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Marine algae are key sources of the biogenic sulphur compound dimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP), a vital component of the marine sulphur cycle. Autotrophic ecosystem engineers such as red coralline algae support highly diverse and biogeochemically active ecosystems and are known to be high DMSP producers, but their importance in the global marine sulphur cycle has not yet been appreciated. Using a global sampling approach, we show that red coralline algae are a globally significant pool of DMSP in the oceans, estimated to be ~110 x 1012 moles worldwide during the summer months. Latitude was a major driver of observed regional-scale variations, with peaks in polar and tropical climate regimes, reflecting the varied cellular functions for DMSP (e.g. as a cryoprotectant and antioxidant). A temperate coralline algal bed was investigated in more detail to also identify local-scale temporal variations. Here, water column DMSP was driven by water temperature, and to a lesser extent, cloud cover; two factors which are also vital in controlling coralline algal growth. This study demonstrates that coralline algae harbour a large pool of dimethylated sulphur, thereby playing a significant role in both the sulphur and carbon marine biogeochemical cycles. However, coralline algal habitats are severely threatened by projected climate change; a loss of this habitat may thus detrimentally impact oceanic sulphur and carbon biogeochemical cycling.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kamenos, Professor Nick and Burdett, Miss Heidi
Authors: Burdett, H. L., Hatton, A. D., and Kamenos, N. A.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:Global Biogeochemical Cycles
Publisher:American Geophysical Union
ISSN (Online):1944-9224
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 The Authors
First Published:First published in Global Biogeochemical Cycles 2015
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
522851Doctoral Training GrantSusan WaldronNatural Environment Research Council (NERC)NE/H525303/1SCHOOL OF GEOGRAPHICAL & EARTH SCIENCES