Respiration in the dark ocean

Javier Arístegui*, Susana Agustí, Carlos M. Duarte

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


The dark ocean, the waters below 200 m depth, comprises about 95% of the volume of the ocean, but its contribution to the metabolism of the ocean is poorly quantified. Here we show that the respiration rate of microplankton declines exponentially at a rate of 0.53 km-1 in the dark ocean, and is enhanced at the interface between the mesopelagic and the abyssal layers (1,000-2,000 m). The respiratory CO2 production in the dark ocean, estimated at 20 to 33.3 Gt C yr-1, renders it a major component of the carbon flux in the biosphere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-1 - 13-4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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