Abstract The East Siberian Sea and contiguous western Arctic Ocean basin are characterized by a subsurface nutrient maximum in the halocline, generally attributed to both Pacific inflow and intensive remineralization in shelf bottom waters that are advected into the central basin. We report nitrogen and oxygen isotopic measurement of nitrate from the East Siberian Sea and western Eurasian Basin, in order to gain insight into how nitrate is processed by the microbial community and redistributed in the Arctic Ocean. A large decoupling between nitrate δ15N and δ18O is reported, increasing and decreasing upward from the Atlantic temperature maximum layer toward the surface, respectively. A correlation between water and nitrate δ18O indicates that most of the nitrate (> 60%) at the halocline has been regenerated within the Arctic Ocean. The increase in nitrate δ15N correlates with the fixed N deficit, indicating a causal link between the loss of fixed N and the 15N enrichment. This suggests that a significant share of benthic denitrification is driven by nitrate supplied by remineralization and partial nitrification, allowing residual 15N-enriched ammonium to diffuse out of the sediments. By increasing nutrient concentrations and fixed N deficit in shelf bottom waters, this imprint is attenuated offshore following advection into the halocline by nitrate regeneration and mixing. Estimation of the sedimentary isotope effect related to benthic denitrification yields values in the range of 2.4?3.8?, with its magnitude driven by both the degree of coupling between remineralization and nitrification, and fixed N concentrations in shelf bottom waters.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2154-2170
Number of pages17
JournalLimnology and Oceanography
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2018

ID: 38972346