Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 14 Issue 04

View Issue TOC
Volume 14, No. 4
Pages 68 - 77


Element Stoichiometry, New Production and Nitrogen Fixation

By Anthony F. Michaels , David M. Karl , and Douglas G. Capone 
Jump to
Citation Copyright & Usage
First Paragraph

Over the decade and a half since planning for the Joint Global Ocean Flux Study (JGOFS) began, a number of shifts, both subtle and profound, have occurred in certain paradigms of biological and chemical oceanography. Nowhere have greater changes taken place than in the way we view the stoichiometry of elements in the ocean and the processes that influence these patterns. We started this era with a conception of new production that focused on nitrate, linked to other elements in a simple, generally stable ratio in the ocean. We now know that elemental ratios vary more than we thought. We also know far more about the importance of iron as a limiting nutrient and its effects on elemental stoichiometry. Assumptions about systems in steady state have given way to the recognition that nothing is constant except change. Relationships between nutrient fluxes and climate conditions over a broad spectrum of time scales have become apparent.


Michaels, A.F., D.M. Karl, and D.G. Capone. 2001. Element stoichiometry, new production and nitrogen fixation. Oceanography 14(4):68–77, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2001.08.

Copyright & Usage

This is an open access article made available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution, and reproduction in any medium or format as long as users cite the materials appropriately, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate the changes that were made to the original content. Images, animations, videos, or other third-party material used in articles are included in the Creative Commons license unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If the material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission directly from the license holder to reproduce the material.