About the book

 
The book provides best estimates of carbon and nutrient fluxes in seven types of continental margins. In each type, these fluxes are reported in detail individually for 3-7 representative geographic regions, each of which is characterized by concise descriptions of the physical and biogeochemical settings. Drawn from the regional synthesis, a global synthesis is put together for carbon fluxes exchanged between continental margins as a whole and the atmosphere and between that and the open ocean. Global syntheses on sediments and nutrients discharged to the ocean from land are also provided in the book. To guide future research on continental margin biogeochemistry, the book also elaborates on a few critical themes that emerged in recent years. One of these is the human impact on the continental margin biogeochemistry, which accentuates the need to include human perturbation of the system in future research. Thus the book represents the state-of-the-art knowledge on the subject, which will be needed for all researchers on continental margin environmental issues.
 

*Subject and level of book: The book provides best estimates of carbon and nutrient fluxes in all types of continental margins, which are synthesized to produce the carbon fluxes exchanged between continental margins and the open ocean. The uptake fluxes of atmospheric CO2 in continental margins are also estimated. The key processes controlling the biogeochemistry in continental margins are described for more than 30 geographic units. A few critical overarching research topics are highlighted to show the important research areas.

 

*Subjects emphasised and why: Continental margins are an important yet poorly understood component in the Earth’s biogeochemical system. However, we do know that they serve as efficient CO2 sequestration machinery in the ocean, known as the continental shelf pump. They also account for more than 3/4 of oceanic denitrification (including anoxic ammonium oxidation) and probably nitrogen fixation, too. It is crucial to understand how the natural and human-induced changes in physical-chemical conditions that have driven the continental margin biogeochemistry. From such understanding we may predict how these forces will drive the biogeochemical changes in continental margins in the Anthropocene and feedback to the earth system. In addition, continental margins are also the site of most fisheries catches in the world. The biogeochemical conditions reveal the health of continental margin ecosystems, which is closely related to the biological resources and their possible future changes.

 

*Particular terminology: The book assumes the major terminology commonly used in marine biogeochemistry. Some terms of physical oceanography and marine ecology are also used. An electronic glossary for selected key terms is provided on this web site.

 

*Particular method: The book resorts to local experts’ syntheses of carbon and nutrient fluxes in seven types of continental margins. In each type, these fluxes are reported in detail individually for 3-7 representative geographic regions, each of which is characterized by concise descriptions of the physical and biogeochemical settings. These regional syntheses form the base of the global synthesis achieved by the book.

 

*Particular results: Drawn from the regional synthesis, a global synthesis is put together for carbon fluxes exchanged between continental margins as a whole and the atmosphere and between that and the open ocean. According to the global synthesis of the book, the estimated net CO2 uptake by continental margins could be as much as 0.3 Pg C/yr, representing ca 20% of the net CO2 uptake (1.6 PgC/yr) in the global ocean. Global syntheses on sediments and nutrients discharged to the ocean from land are also provided in the book.

 

*Benefits to readership: To guide future research on continental margin biogeochemistry, the book provides concise sketches of the biogeochemical conditions of 30+ continental margins. It also elaborates on a few critical themes that emerged in recent years. One of these is the human impact on the continental margin biogeochemistry, which accentuates the need to include human perturbation of the system in future research. In short, the book represents the state-of-the-art knowledge on the subject, which will be needed for all researchers on continental margin environmental issues.

   
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