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Ocean Biogeochemical Dynamics

Sarmiento & Gruber, 2006

Princeton University Press


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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 (PDF, 2.4 MB) 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 (PDF, 82 KB) file of review]

-- Peter Burkill, Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science.
Environmental Conservation [pdf (PDF, 38 KB) file of review]

-- George Wolff, University of Liverpool
Geological Magazine, [pdf (PDF, 33 KB) 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)
pdf ppt (PPT, 834 KB)

Chapter 2 (circulation)
pdf (PDF, 8.2 MB) (1st part) 
pdf (PDF, 2.8 MB) (2nd part) 

ppt (PPT, 7 MB)

Chapter 3 (air-sea exchange)
pdf ppt (PPT, 3.4 MB)

Chapter 4 (production)
pdf (PDF, 6 MB) (1st part)
pdf (PDF, 3.1 MB) (2nd part)

ppt (PPT, 17.4 MB)

Chapter 5 (remineralization)
pdf ppt (PPT, 10.3 MB)

Chapter 6 (sediments)
pdf ppt (PPT, 3.9 MB)

Chapter 7 (silicate)
pdf ppt (PPT, 8.5 MB)

Chapter 8 (carbon)
pdf ppt (PPT, 5.6 MB)

Chapter 9 (carbonate)
pdf ppt (PPT, 6.1 MB)

Chapter 10 (carbon & climate)
pdf ppt (PPT, 8.6 MB)

Colorplates (maps) 
pdf ppt (PPT, 7.9 MB)

Colorplates (sections)
pdf ppt (PPT, 2.8 MB)

Full chapters (from PUP):

Ch1[pdf] (PDF, 969 KB) | Ch10 [pdf (PDF, 3.6 MB)]


Despite our best efforts to avoid errors and mistakes, a few errors and typos have found their way into the published version. Most of the errors and typos got corrected in prints after 2009 (prints 3 and later). Please check your version and consult the corresponding section in the errata file. If you find additional errors, please don't hesitate and contact the authors (*). Your help is appreciated! .

pdf file (PDF, 865 KB) of errata

Author e-mails: or

(*) Contact Nicolas Gruber () for permissions.

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