The ocean is a significant sink of anthropogenic CO2, in large part because organic matter is exported to oceanic depths driving the biological sequestration of carbon in the ocean’s interior. Organic matter export depends on the supply of external nutrients to the euphotic zone (by processes such as deep mixing and biological fixation of atmospheric dinitrogen (N2)) and the subsequent production of organic matter by photosynthesis (defined as “new” production).
The Gulf of Aqaba offers a unique opportunity to observe, at high temporal resolution, both mechanisms supplying “new” nutrients. The oligotrophic Gulf is surrounded by land on three sides and characterized by a thermohaline circulation pattern caused by high evaporation rates, and exhibits strong seasonal variability mainly due to deep winter mixing and strong summer stratification.
My main goal is to understand the relative contribution of N2 fixation and deep winter mixing to “new” production and subsequent “export” in the northern Gulf of Aqaba and to simulate and predict the response of the system under changing environmental scenarios.