Circumventing kinetics in biogeochemical models

TitleCircumventing kinetics in biogeochemical models
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsLouca S., Scranton M.I., Taylor G.T., Astor YM, Crowe S.A., Doebeli M.
JournalProc. Nat’l. Acad. Sci. (USA)

Predicting biochemical processes driven by microbes in the environment remains challenging, because the “kinetic” parameters conventionally used to predict reaction rates are usually poorly known. Here we mathematically show that in poorly mixed systems, such as stagnant waters, bulk biochemical reaction rates can become limited by the slow transport of substrates across space and essentially independent of kinetic parameters. We demonstrate our arguments for a large and heavily studied ocean basin, where we accurately predict the microbially driven fluxes of various substances, across a depth range of hundreds of meters. Our work opens up avenues for predicting ecosystem processes without knowledge of kinetic parameters and without laborious chemical profile measurements.

Refereed DesignationRefereed

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