Why is ocean productivity so low?. Ecology

  • Ocean productivity is low because it is limited by sunlight and nutrients.
  • The ocean water absorbs solar radiation very readily, more than half of solar radiation is absorbed in the first / metre. This makes light a scarce resource in the ocean
  • With limiting light one would assume that there would be a gradient of primary production from the tropics to the poles, this is not observed
  • Why are the tropics unproductive when the light regime is so good? Nutrients are poor in the tropics - nitrogen and phosphorus are in very low in the ocean
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