Environmental Physics

Ocean Biogeochemical Dynamics


obtain the figures and the latest errata from this website


Sarmiento & Gruber, 2006
Princeton University Press

(available from the PUP website)

Cloth | June 2006

ISBN: 0-691-01707-7

$75.00 / £48.95

526 pp. | 8 x 11
16 color plates.
102 halftones.
178 line illus.
62 tables.

Sarmiento & Gruber, 2006

Princeton University Press

obtain the figures and the latest list of errata from this website

obain the book from the PUP website



Ocean Biogeochemical Dynamics provides a broad theoretical framework upon which graduate students and upper-level undergraduates can formulate an understanding of the processes that control the mean concentration and distribution of biologically utilized elements and compounds in the ocean. Though it is written as a textbook, it will also be of interest to more advanced scientists as a wide-ranging synthesis of our present understanding of ocean biogeochemical processes.

The first two chapters of the book provide an introductory overview of biogeochemical and physical oceanography. The next four chapters concentrate on processes at the air-sea interface, the production of organic matter in the upper ocean, the remineralization of organic matter in the water column, and the processing of organic matter in the sediments. The focus of these chapters is on analyzing the cycles of organic carbon, oxygen, and nutrients.

The next three chapters round out the authors' coverage of ocean biogeochemical cycles with discussions of silica, dissolved inorganic carbon and alkalinity, and CaCO3. The final chapter discusses applications of ocean biogeochemistry to our understanding of the role of the ocean carbon cycle in interannual to decadal variability, paleoclimatology, and the anthropogenic carbon budget. The problem sets included at the end of each chapter encourage students to ask critical questions in this exciting new field. While much of the approach is mathematical, the math is at a level that should be accessible to students with a year or two of college level
mathematics and/or physics.


"This textbook is a monumental and masterful achievement, and the authors should be congratulated both for taking on this important task and for the end result. . . . Every serious student and post-doc in this discipline, and all senior practitioners, should purchase or borrow a copy of this book and read it from cover to cover."

--David M. Karl, University of Hawaii, Hawaii, USA.
Bulletin of the American Society for Limnology and Oceanography [pdf file of review]

Sarmiento and Gruber's book provides an excellent account of the current understanding of the issues and will serve as an important reference for experienced researchers. [..] The text is comprehensive yet readable, the best treatment of the subject to appear, in my opinion, since the seminal work Tracers in the Sea by Wallace S. Broecker and Tsung-Hung Peng. [..] I commend it without reservation."

-- Michael B. McElroy, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA.
Physics Today [pdf file of review]

-- Peter Burkill, Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science.
Environmental Conservation [pdf file of review]

-- George Wolff, University of Liverpool
Geological Magazine, [pdf file of review]



The figures are made available for users of the book, particularly for classroom use. No reproduction is permitted unless given written permission by the authors (*).

as individual files (eps, gif, pdf) (also in color)

Ch 1 | Ch 2 | Ch 3 | Ch 4 | Ch 5 | Ch 6 | Ch 7 | Ch 8 | Ch 9 | Ch 10

as combined files (pdf, ppt):
pdf files (Acrobat Reader)
ppt files (Powerpoint)
Chapter 1 (introduction)
ppt (0.8 MB)
Chapter 2 (circulation)
pdf (1st part, 8.2MB)

pdf (2nd part 2.8MB)

ppt (6.9 MB)
Chapter 3 (air-sea exchange)
pdf (1.9MB) ppt (3.4 MB)
Chapter 4 (production)
pdf (1st part, 6.0MB)

pdf (2nd part, 3.1MB)

ppt (17.4 MB)
Chapter 5 (remineralization)
pdf (4.4MB) ppt (10.3 MB)
Chapter 6 (sediments)
pdf (1.6MB) ppt (3.9MB)
Chapter 7 (silicate)
pdf (5.5MB) ppt (8.5 MB)
Chapter 8 (carbon)
pdf  (3MB) ppt (5.6 MB)
Chapter 9 (carbonate)
pdf (1.9MB) ppt (6.1 MB)
Chapter 10 (carbon & climate)
pdf (3.1MB) ppt (8.6 MB)
Colorplates (maps)  pdf (21 MB) ppt (1 MB)
Colorplates (sections)
pdf (1.2 Mb) ppt (2.8 Mb)

Full chapters (from PUP):

Ch1 [pdf] | Ch10 [pdf]


Despite our best efforts to avoid errors and mistakes, a few errors and typos have found their way into the published version. We list the most current version of the errata here. If you find additional errors, please don't hesitate and contact the authors (*). Your help is appreciated! .

pdf file of errata

current list (last update June 26, 2007):

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10


Chapter 1: Introduction

Why are elements not distributed evenly in the ocean? Why are the concentrations of some elements many thousand times lower in seawater in comparison to their concentration in the inflowing rivers? Dynamic versus equilibrium control of ocean chemical concentrations. [pdf] from PUP (entire chapter)

Chapter 2: Ocean Transport

Overview of large-scale ocean circulation. Wind-driven circulation, Sverdrup balance, Stommel gyre, thermohaline circulation, mixing, geostrophy, circulation tracers, interannual variability.

Chapter 3: Air-sea interface

Solubility and physics of air-sea gas exchange

Chapter 4: Organic matter production

Primary production in the ocean, primary producers, functional groups, light and nutrient limitation, grazing, seasonal cycle, spring bloom, nitrogen fixation.

Chapter 5: Organic matter export and remineralization

Water column remineralization, respiration, bacterial breakdown, denitrification, dissolved organic carbon.

Chapter 6: Diagenesis

Organic matter remineralization in the sediments.

Chapter 7: Silicate cycling

Production of silicious materials by diatoms, export, dissolution in the water column and in the sediments.

Chapter 8: Carbon cycling

Apply the concepts presented in the earlier chapters to carbon. Carbon chemistry, carbon cycling, seasonal variability, export and remineralization.

Chapter 9: CaCO3 cycling

Calcium carbonate cycling, production, dissolution, sediments, CaCO3 compensation.

Chapter 10: Oceanic carbon cycle, atmospheric CO2 and climate

Topical problems on ocean and global carbon cycle. Anthropogenic perturbation, interannual variability, glacial-interglacial CO2 changes [pdf] from PUP (entire chapter)

Author e-mails: or

(*) Contact Nicolas Gruber ( for permissions.


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