The δ18O of dissolved O2 as a tracer of mixing and respiration in the mesopelagic ocean
Article first published online: 18 FEB 2009
Copyright 2009 by the American Geophysical Union.
Global Biogeochemical Cycles
Volume 23, Issue 1, March 2009
How to Cite
2009), The δ18O of dissolved O2 as a tracer of mixing and respiration in the mesopelagic ocean, Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 23, GB1006, doi:10.1029/2007GB003162., , and (
- Issue published online: 18 FEB 2009
- Article first published online: 18 FEB 2009
- Manuscript Accepted: 21 OCT 2008
- Manuscript Revised: 7 SEP 2008
- Manuscript Received: 7 DEC 2007
- oxygen isotope;
- chemical tracer
 The isotopic composition of dissolved oxygen in the mesopelagic ocean is a unique tracer of respiration and transport. New δ18O of O2 data from the tropical South Atlantic oxygen minimum zone are presented and compared to global δ18O data. The δ18O variability in oxygen poor waters is attributed to differences in physical and biogeochemical processes. Simple respiration-transport models show that both isopycnal diffusion and advection must be properly considered when interpreting oxygen isotope signatures along an isopycnal surface. We estimate rates of respiration and oxygen isotope fractionation for the study region using a two-dimensional (2-D) isopycnal and 1-D diapycnal model. Estimated respiration rates are consistent with previous studies. However, to account for observed δ18O values at low [O2], model solutions need to invoke either very low [O2] that have not been observed in the South Atlantic or an isotope effect that is lower than values measured in the laboratory or euphotic zone.