Special Issue "Marine Nitrogen Cycling and Food Webs"

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818). This special issue belongs to the section "Marine Diversity".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 December 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Antonio Bode
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Centro Nacional Instituto Español de Oceanografia (IEO-CSIC), Centro Oceanografico de A Coruña, A Coruña, Spain
Interests: marine plankton ecology; nitrogen cycle; food webs; stable isotopes
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Marta M. Varela
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Instituto Espanol de Oceanografia, Madrid, Spain
Interests: microbial oceanography; molecular ecology; functional structure; organic matter

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Nitrogen is a key element in marine food webs. First, because it limits primary producers in most of the ocean. Second, because it is essential for the building of major biomolecules, as proteins and nucleic acids, which are required for maintaining marine life. The nitrogen cycle in the ocean is closely linked with those of other biologically important elements (e.g., carbon and phosphorus cycles) by stoichiometric requirements. Recent recalculations of the global nitrogen cycle have noted a remarkable balance between sources and sinks of nitrogen in the ocean that critically depends on a spatial separation of biologically-mediated assimilation and loss processes. With a longer lifetime of reactive nitrogen in the ocean than in terrestrial ecosystems, about it is still uncertain how the nitrogen cycle will be affected by global changes such as the input of antropogenic nitrogen and the warming of surface waters.

New discoveries have indicated the major importance of the biological control of atmospheric nitrogen fixation and denitrification in much larger areas of the ocean than previously considered (e.g., temperate upwelling regions). The diversity of nitrogen fixers has just started to be revealed using advanced molecular and genomic methods. The impact of fixed nitrogen extends over the entire food web and is transported to traditionally considered nitrogen-deficient regions by long-distance travelling upper consumers (such as tuna). Zooplankton grazing may be one of the main controls of the cycling of nitrogen, affecting, for instance, the spatial decoupling between nitrogen fixation and denitrification, and the remineralization of organic nitrogen by bacteria and archaea, as suggested by recent studies. Zooplankton and mesopelagic fish actively contribute to the transfer of nitrogen, from productive surface waters to deep ocean layers. Methodological developments have also challenged the existing database of experimental nitrogen rate measurements as well as the reconstruction of long-term changes in food webs from alterations in climate and local oceanography affecting the nitrogen cycle.

Major challenges for current research are to determine the consequences of climate change for ocean nitrogen cycling and their effects on other biogeochemical processes and ecosystem functions and services.

The aim of this Special Issue is to provide an overview of recent approaches to the study of the cycling of nitrogen in marine food webs through contributions dealing with the following:

  • The molecular diversity of marine nitrogen fixers;
  • Rates and magnitude of nitrogen cycling (diazotrophy, the uptake and recycling of dissolved inorganic and organic nitrogen);
  • Spatial and temporal patterns of nitrogen-influenced changes in food web structure;
  • Nitrogen control on ocean carbon sequestration;
  • The environmental and climatic influence of ocean nitrogen cycling.

as well as other relevant topics using specific or generic methodologies applied to the nitrogen cycle (e.g., genomics, stable isotopes, microscopic analysis, etc.).

Dr. Antonio Bode
Dr. Marta M. Varela
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Diversity is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Effects of Upwelling Intensity on Nitrogen and Carbon Fluxes through the Planktonic Food Web off A Coruña (Galicia, NW Spain) Assessed with Stable Isotopes
Diversity 2020, 12(4), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12040121 - 25 Mar 2020
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The input of new nutrients by upwelling in shelf waters, and the associated carbon and nitrogen fluxes, can be traced by their stable isotope signatures in organic matter. Here, we analyze the relationships between upwelling intensity and natural abundance of stable carbon and [...] Read more.
The input of new nutrients by upwelling in shelf waters, and the associated carbon and nitrogen fluxes, can be traced by their stable isotope signatures in organic matter. Here, we analyze the relationships between upwelling intensity and natural abundance of stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes in seston, sedimented particles, and four plankton size fractions (200 to 5000 µm) sampled monthly during 2010 and 2011 in a seasonal upwelling ecosystem. Upwelling modified the seasonal warming stratification by introducing cold and nutrient-rich waters in subsurface layers, enhancing chlorophyll-a and diatom abundance. Seston and sedimented particles were enriched in heavy nitrogen (but not carbon) isotopes linearly with upwelling intensity, indicating a primary effect of upwelling on phytoplankton production. In contrast, all plankton fractions were enriched in heavy carbon isotopes with upwelling, mainly due to the consumption of diatoms. These results confirm the differential effect of upwelling on nitrogen and carbon fluxes in the plankton food web. Direct effects of the new nitrogen inputs on phytoplankton are less evident with the increase of plankton size as nitrogen is repeatedly recycled, while the enriched carbon of plankton suggests the consumption of diatoms during upwelling. We provide linear equations to assess the influence of changes in upwelling intensity on nitrogen and carbon fluxes in seston and plankton in this ecosystem, as well as to estimate reference baseline values for food web studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Nitrogen Cycling and Food Webs)
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