DOI: 10.1002/lol2.10343 ISSN:

Diazotrophy in the Indian Ocean: Current understanding and future perspectives

Subhadeep Chowdhury, Eric Raes, Cora Hörstmann, Ayaz Ahmed, Céline Ridame, Nicolas Metzl, P S Bhavya, Takuya Sato, Takuhei Shiozaki, Sophie Bonnet, Carolin R. Löscher, Arvind Singh, Mar Benavides
  • Aquatic Science
  • Oceanography


Dinitrogen (N2) fixation provides the major source of reactive nitrogen in the open ocean, sustaining biological productivity. The Indian Ocean (IO) covers 22% of the ocean surface, while it only represents 1% of the global diazotroph database. Hence, constraining the sources of nitrogen in the IO is crucial. Here, we compile three decades of N2 fixation and diazotroph DNA data in the IO. Our analysis reveals basin‐scale yearly rates between ~ 7 and 13 Tg N yr−1. These rates are in the range of previous modeling‐based estimates but may represent a lower bound estimate due to the lack of data in this basin. Diazotroph variability among sub‐basins may suggest endemicity but needs to be taken with caution due to biased sampling toward certain seasons and uneven spatial coverage. We provide recommendations for a more accurate representation of the IO in the global nitrogen budget and our knowledge of diazotroph biogeography.

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