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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2019-59
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2019-59
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 13 Mar 2019

Research article | 13 Mar 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG).

Transparent exopolymer particle binding of organic and inorganic particles in the Red Sea: Implications for downward transport of biogenic materials

Abdullah H. A. Dehwah1,6, Donald M. Anderson2, Sheng Li1,4, Francis L. Mallon3, Zenon Batang3, Abdullah H. Alshahri1, Michael Hegy4, and Thomas M. Missimer5 Abdullah H. A. Dehwah et al.
  • 1King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Water Desalination and Reuse Center (WDRC), Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering (BESE), Thuwal 23955-6900, Saudi Arabia
  • 2Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Biology Department, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA
  • 3Coastal and Marine Resources Core Laboratory, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwal, Saudi Arabia
  • 4Guangzhou Institute of Advanced Technology, CAS, Haibin Road #1121, Nansha district, Guangzhou 511458, China
  • 5U. A. Whitaker College of Engineering, Emergent Technologies Institute, Florida Gulf Coast University, 16301 Innovation Lane, Fort Myers, Florida 33965-6565
  • 6Desalination Technologies Research Institute (DTRI), Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC), P.O. Box 8328, Al-Jubail 31951, Saudi Arabia

Abstract. Binding of particulate and dissolved organic matter in the water column by marine gels allows sinking and cycling of organic matter into deeper water of the Red Sea and other marine water bodies. A series of four offshore profiles were made at which concentrations of bacteria, algae, particulate transparent exopolymer particles (p-TEP), colloidal transparent exopolymer particles (c-TEP), and the fractions of natural organic matter (NOM), including biopolymers, humic substances, low molecular weight neutrals, and low molecular weight acids were measured to depths ranging from 90 to 300 m. It was found that a statistically-significant relationship occurs between the concentrations of p-TEP and bacteria while a minimal, non-significant relationship between p-TEP and algae occurs. This likely reflects the low abundance of larger algal species in the study region. Variation in the biopolymer fraction of NOM in relationship to TEP and bacteria suggests that extracellular discharges of polysaccharides and proteins from the bacteria and algae are occurring without immediate abiotic assembly into p-TEP. In the water column below the photic zone, TOC, bacteria, and biopolymers show a generally common rate of reduction in concentration, but p-TEP decreases at a diminished rate, showing that it persists in moving organic carbon deeper into the water column despite consumption by bacteria.

Abdullah H. A. Dehwah et al.
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Abdullah H. A. Dehwah et al.
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Short summary
Marine gels are an important component of the biochemical composition of seawater. Transparent exopolymer particles (TEP) are gels composed of acidic polysaccharides and other organic compounds that bind with suspended sediments and allow them to travel from the surface to the bottom of the sea. TEP becomes a food supply for the deep ocean and allows bacteria to grow and ultimately become food for growth of higher life forms.
Marine gels are an important component of the biochemical composition of seawater. Transparent...
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