Dandonneau Yves, Menkès Christophe, Duteil O., Gorgues Thomas
Journal of Marine Systems, 2008,
69 (3-4), p. 226-232 ISSN 0924-7963
Some organisms that live just below the sea surface (the neuston) are known more as a matter of curiosity than as critical players in biogeochemical cycles. The hypothesis of this work is that their existence implies that they receive some food from an upward flux of organic matter. The behaviour of these organisms and of the associated organic matter, hereafter mentioned as floating biogenic material (FBM) is explored using a global physical-biogeochemical coupled model, in which its generation is fixed to 1% of primary production, and decay rate is of the order of I month. The model shows that the distribution of FBM should depart rapidly from that of primary production.. and be more sensitive to circulation patterns than to the distribution of primary production. It is trapped in convergence areas, where it reaches concentrations larger by a factor 10 than in divergences, thus enhancing and inverting the contrast between high and low primary productivity areas. Attention is called on the need to better understand the biogeochemical processes in the first meter of the ocean, as they may impact the distribution of food for fishes, as well as the conditions for air-sea exchange and for the interpretation of sea color.