The ocean as a net heterotrophic system: Implications From the carbon biogeochemical cycle


  • S. V. Smith,

  • F. T. Mackenzie


The global ocean apparently consumes more organic carbon than it produces. The excess heterotrophy probably occurs in the nearshore zone. This nearshore heterotrophy has significant implications with respect to processes such as organic matter transport from the nearshore zone to the adjacent open ocean, nutrient limitation of primary production, and the role of the coastal zone as a short-term sink for anthropogenic CO2.