Carbon and silica fluxes during a declining North Atlantic spring bloom as part of the EXPORTS program

Samantha J. Clevenger, Claudia R. Benitez-Nelson, Montserrat Roca-Martí, Wokil Bam, Margaret Estapa, Jennifer A. Kenyon, Steven Pike, Laure Resplandy, Abigale Wyatt, Ken O. Buesseler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The goal of NASA's EXport Processes in the Ocean from RemoTe Sensing (EXPORTS) project is to develop a predictive understanding of the fate of global ocean primary productivity and export of carbon from the surface to the deep ocean. Thorium-234 (234Th, t1/2 = 24.1 d) was used to measure sinking particle export from an anticyclonic eddy during the EXPORTS North Atlantic cruise (May 2021) at the Porcupine Abyssal Plain. The four-week sampling period was broken into three time periods (“epochs”) where 800 234Th seawater samples were collected from over 50 CTD casts with high depth resolution over the upper 500 m. Size-fractioned particulate samples were collected to determine particulate organic carbon (POC) and biogenic silica (bSi) to 234Th ratios using in situ McLane pumps. A 234Th non-steady state model shows an eddy center epoch average progression of increasing 234Th export (∼2800 ± 300 (Epoch 1; standard deviation) to 4500 ± 700 (Epoch 3) dpm m−2 d−1) out of the top 110 m of the water column over the course of the cruise (29 d). This translates into an epoch average progression of ∼11 ± 1 to 14 ± 2 mmol C m−2 d−1 of sinking POC flux, and ∼ 3 ± 1 to 6 ± 1 mmol bSi m−2 d−1 of sinking bSi flux to deeper waters at 110 m. The overall efficiency of the biological carbon pump (amount of net primary production reaching 100 m below the euphotic zone) increases from ∼10% to ∼30% throughout the sampling period. The temporal trends discussed extensively in this paper show that POC and bSi export increase during diatom bloom evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104346
JournalMarine Chemistry
StatePublished - Jan 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology


  • Biogenic silica export
  • Biological carbon pump
  • Carbon export
  • Diatom bloom
  • North Atlantic Ocean spring bloom
  • Porcupine Abyssal Plain
  • Radionuclides
  • Thorium


Dive into the research topics of 'Carbon and silica fluxes during a declining North Atlantic spring bloom as part of the EXPORTS program'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this