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Carbon sequestration by multiple biological pump pathways in a coastal upwelling biome


Multiple processes transport carbon into the deep ocean as part of the biological carbon pump, leading to long-term carbon sequestration. However, our ability to predict future changes in these processes is hampered by the absence of studies that have simultaneously quantified all carbon pump pathways. Here, we quantify carbon export and sequestration in the California Current Ecosystem resulting from (1) sinking particles, (2) active transport by diel vertical migration, and (3) the physical pump (subduction + vertical mixing of particles). We find that sinking particles are the most important and export 9.0 mmol C m-2 d-1 across 100-m depth while sequestering 3.9 Pg C. The physical pump exports more carbon from the shallow ocean than active transport (3.8 vs. 2.9 mmol C m-2 d-1), although active transport sequesters more carbon (1.0 vs. 0.8 Pg C) because of deeper remineralization depths. We discuss the implications of these results for understanding biological carbon pump responses to climate change.

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