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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. 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 (PDF, 142 KB) of errata

current list (last update June 26, 2007):

Chapter 1

  • page 8, Figure 1.2.1: units of y-axis in the key should read “(km)” instead of “(m)”.

Chapter 2

  • page 39, Figure 2.3.5: last line of caption. Definition of H should read “[1/(σθ+1000) · (∂σθ/∂z)]-1”, i.e. add 1000 to σθ. 
  • page 41, Figure 2.3.10 units of x-axis legend should read [years]. Caption should read tracer ventilation ages.

Chapter 3

  • page 89, equation 3.3.19: delete units given at the end, i.e. m d-1, as they are already given inside the brackets.

Chapter 4

  • p136, first paragraph, expression for G(P)=g·[P2/(Kp2+P2)]·Z is missing the second parenthesis.

Chapter 5

  • page 182, Equation 5.2.6: fh should read fn, i.e. [O2]initial = fn * (288...)
  • page 187, last paragraph, where discussing the results of Hupe and Karstensen. The Corg:N ratio, should be the Corg:P. Also need to change "0.9 (mol C):(mol N)" to "0.9 (mol C):(mol P)" two lines from bottom.

Chapter 7

  • page 274, panel 7.1.1: 3rd paragraph, 4th line: The sentence "Pressure increases the solubility, and surface area decreases it, giving a vertical solubility profile..." should read: "As one goes down in depth, the increase in pressure enhances the solubility, while the decreasing temperature lowers it, giving a vertical solubility profile that is quite different in shape from what one would obtain by considering temperature alone."
  • Page 283, Panel 7.2.1, equation (1) should read  SMS(C) = U*DelC - Del*(D*DelC)
  • Page 283, Panel 7.2.1, equation (2) should read  Int(SMS(C)dV = Int[U*DelC - Del*(D*DelC)]dV
  • Page 295, left hand column, 12 lines from bottom, 1/6 should read 1/6th.
  • Page 297, right hand column, line 5: 0.9 should be 0.85
  • Page 304, left hand column, line 3, “figure 7.4.7” should be “figure 7.4.9”
  • Page 307, 5 right hand column, 5 lines from bottom, change “..into the core” to “…into the sediments”
  • Page 313, problem 7.7a, should read “a. increase temperature by 10°C from 0°C?”

Chapter 8

  • page 325: Table 8.2.2: equation 24 for -ln(Kb). On the second line, the leading "x" should be a "+".
  • page 326: Table 8.2.3: Add a subscript "b" to -log10 K in the header of the 6th column to read -log10 Kb (it is the dissociation constant of borate)
  • page 327: Figure 8.2.1: slope of [H2CO3*] and [CO32-] have to change to -2 and 2, after they pass pK2 or pK1, respectively. Correct figure can be downloaded from here: Figure 8.2.1 gifpdf
  • page 332, equation 8.3.17 (gamma_Alk): Add negative sign to right hand side, i.e. to read gamma_Alk approx – (Alk2)/((2·DIC-Alk)(Alk-DIC))

Chapter 9

  • page 366: Table 9.3.1: Formula for the solubility product of aragonite: the last term for ln(Ksp-aragonite) should be 0.0136808*S^(3/2) and not S^(2/3). 
  • page 370, right hand column, 16 lines from bottom, “(8.2.18)” should be “(9.3.6)”
  • page 374, left hand column, two lines above Table 9.4.1, change “43%” to “19%”
  • page 382, Figure 9.4.6 caption, line 3, “solid line” should be “dot-dash line”, ands on lines 7 and 8, “dot-dash line” should be “solid line”

Chapter 10

  • Page 396, Figure 10.1.4: Labeling of wavelength at the top of the figure is incorrect. The axis-ticks and the labels should be aligned with those of the wavenumber axis at the bottom. A corrected version of the figure can be downloaded from here: Figure 10.1.4 gif | eps
  • Page 410, left hand column, line 6 after (10.2.25), reference to Figure 10.2.6 should be a reference to Figure 10.2.7.
  • Page 435, equation (10.4.4), the two fluxes in the numerator of the right-hand-term of the equation should be added, not subtracted, i.e. the equation should read DICs = DICd – (ΦCorg + ΦCaCO3)/ν
  • Page 441, equation (10.4.10), the numerator of the right hand term of the equation should be added, not subtracted, i.e. the equation should read 
    DICh = DICd – rC:PO4 ([PO4]d · T + ΦPh)/(T + fhd)
  • Page 456, problem 10.13b. ADD: Assume for λ a value of 1/30 day-1.
  • Page 456, problem 10.13c. ADD: Assume a mean DIC concentration of 2100 mmol m-3 and a constant carbon-to-phosphorus stoichiometry, rC:PO4 of 117:1.  


  • page 459: Appendix: Table A.1: Mass of ocean should read 1.35 x 1021 kg
  • page 459: Appendix: Table A.1 Second “Dry mass of atmosphere” should read “Moles in atmosphere”
  • page 459: Appendix: Table A.2: Angular velocity of Earth: The correct value is 7.1 · 10-5 radians s-1 (and not 7.1 · 105).

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(*) Contact Nicolas Gruber () for permissions.

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