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Atmospheric aerosols contain particulates that are deposited to oceanic surface waters. These can represent a major source of nutrients, trace metals, and organic compounds for the marine environment. The Japan Sea and the western Pacific Ocean are particularly affected by aerosols due to the transport of desert dust and industrially derived particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 µm (PM2.5) from continental Asia. We hypothesized that supplementing seawater with aerosol particulates would lead to measurable changes in surface water nutrient composition as well as shifts in the marine microbial community. Shipboard experiments in the Pacific Ocean involved the recovery of oligotrophic oceanic surface water and subsequent supplementation with aerosol particulates obtained from the nearby coastal mountains, to simulate marine particulate input in this region. Initial increases in nitrates due to the addition of aerosol particulates were followed by a decrease correlated with the increase in phytoplankton biomass, which was composed largely of Bacillariophyta (diatoms), including Pseudo-nitzschia and Chaetoceros species. This shift was accompanied by changes in the bacterial community, with apparent increases in the relative abundance of heterotrophic Rhodobacteraceae and Colwelliaceae in aerosol particulate treated seawater. Our findings provide empirical evidence revealing the impact of aerosol particulates on oceanic surface water microbiology by alleviating nitrogen limitation in the organisms. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd

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  • Deep-Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers

    Deep-Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers (118), 37-45, 2016-12-01



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