Inter-Research > MEPS > v583 > p81-93  
MEPS
Marine Ecology Progress Series

via Mailchimp

MEPS 583:81-93 (2017)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12339

Transparent exopolymer particles (TEP) in the deep ocean: full-depth distribution patterns and contribution to the organic carbon pool

Yosuke Yamada1,6,*, Taichi Yokokawa2, Mario Uchimiya1,3,4, Shigeto Nishino5, Hideki Fukuda1, Hiroshi Ogawa1, Toshi Nagata

1Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, The University of Tokyo, 5-1-5, Kashiwanoha, Kashiwa-shi, Chiba 277-8564, Japan
2Research and Development Center for Marine Biosciences, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), Yokosuka 237-0061, Japan
3RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science, 1-7-22 Suehiro-cho, Tsurumi-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa 230-0045, Japan
4National Institute of Polar Research, 10-3, Midori-cho, Tachikawa-shi, Tokyo 190-8518, Japan
5Institute of Arctic Climate and Environment Research, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), Yokosuka 237-0061, Japan
6Present address: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Marine Biology Research Division, University of California San Diego,  La Jolla, California 92093, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Transparent exopolymer particles (TEP) play important roles in marine biogeochemical cycles. However, limited data are available regarding the TEP distribution in meso- and bathypelagic oceans. We examined the full depth distributions of TEP in the slope region of the western Arctic Ocean, and subtropical and equatorial regions of the Pacific Ocean. Chlorophyll a concentrations in the euphotic layer were similar (range: 0.1-1 µg l-1) in these 2 regions. TEP concentrations were 1.3-5.4 times higher (depending on depth) in the Arctic Ocean than in the Pacific Ocean. In the Arctic Ocean, TEP concentrations decreased with depth and were positively correlated with particulate organic carbon (POC) and prokaryotic parameters (abundance and production). In contrast, in the Pacific Ocean, TEP were distributed uniformly with depth and were uncoupled from POC and prokaryotic parameters. The estimated amount of carbon associated with TEP (TEP-C) exceeded that of POC in the mesopelagic layer of both regions (the TEP-C concentrations were 2-3 times higher than the concentrations of POC) and in the bathypelagic layer of the Pacific Ocean (the TEP-C concentrations were 6 times higher than the concentrations of POC). Our results suggest that TEP are a dynamic and large component of the organic carbon pool in the ocean interior, influenced by vertical transport, in situ prokaryotic production, and the self-assembly of polymeric precursors.


KEY WORDS: Transparent exopolymer particles · TEP · Mesopelagic ocean ·  Bathypelagic ocean · Carbon cycle · Prokaryote


Full text in pdf format
Supplementary material 
Cite this article as: Yamada Y, Yokokawa T, Uchimiya M, Nishino S, Fukuda H, Ogawa H, Nagata T (2017) Transparent exopolymer particles (TEP) in the deep ocean: full-depth distribution patterns and contribution to the organic carbon pool. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 583:81-93. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12339

Export citation
Mail this link - Contents Mailing Lists - RSS
Facebook - - linkedIn