|Résumé :||We investigate the silicon (Si) cycle in the Southern Ocean through two isotopic approaches: (1) 30Si-incubation experiments and (2) natural silicon isotopic composition (ä30Si). 30Si-spiked incubation allows to discriminate the short-term (~ 1 day) net Si-uptake flux in bSiO2 production and dissolution. ä30Si of both biogenic silica and dissolved silicon integrates at seasonal/annual scale bSiO2 production or dissolution and mixing.
(1) A new mass spectrometer method (HR-SF-ICPMS) has been developed for 30Si-isotopic abundance measurements. This methodology is faster and easier than the previous available methodologies and has the same precision. A complete set of incubation was coupled with parallel 32Si-incubations and the two methodologies give not significantly different bSiO2 production rates. In the Southern Ocean, especially in the southern Antarctic Circumpolar Current, the large silicic acid concentration degrades the sensitivity of the method with Si dissolution fluxes staying generally below the detection limit. In contrast, the 28Si-isotopic dilution was sensitive enough to assess low biogenic silica dissolution rates in silicic acid poor waters of the northern ACC. We show that large accumulation of detrital dissolving biogenic silica after productive period implies really efficient silicon loop with integrated (euphotic layer) dissolution:production ratio equal or larger than 1.
(2) We largely expand the silicic acid isotopic data in the open ocean. Relatively simple mass and isotopic balances have been performed in the Antarctic Zone and have allowed to apply for the first time ä30Si in a quantitative way to estimate regional net silica production and quantify source waters fueling bSiO2 productivity. We observe that at the end of the productive period as suggested with 30Si-incubation, large accumulation of detrital biogenic silica in the surface waters increase the D:P ratio and subsequently dampens the bSiO2 production mediated isotopic fractionation with residual biogenic silica carrying heavier ä30Si than expected. Seasonal isotopic evolution is simulated and seems in agreement with our observations. These simulations strongly suggest working with non-zero order equations to fully assess the seasonal expression of the different processes involved: mixing, uptake, dissolution. Si-isotopes are also tracking the origin and fates of the different ACC pools across the Southern Ocean meridional circulation. Moreover during the circumpolar eastward pathway, the bSiO2 dissolution in deep water decreases the corresponding ä30Si values and this imprint is further transmitted via the upper limb of the meridional circulation in the intermediate water masses.