Sulfur isotope variability of oceanic DMSP generation and its contributions to marine biogenic sulfur emissions

Harry Daniel Oduro, Kathryn L. Van Alstyne, James Farquhar

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    Oceanic dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) is the precursor to dimethylsulfide (DMS), which plays a role in climate regulation through transformation to methanesulfonic acid (MSA) and non-seasalt sulfate (NSS-SO42-) aerosols. Here, we report measurements of the abundance and sulfur isotope compositions of DMSP from one phytoplankton species (Prorocentrum minimum) and five intertidal macroalgal species (Ulva lactuca, Ulva linza, Ulvaria obscura, Ulva prolifera, and Polysiphonia hendryi) in marine waters. We show that the sulfur isotope compositions (delta S-34) of DMSP are depleted in S-34 relative to the source seawater sulfate by similar to 1-3 parts per thousand and are correlated with the observed intracellular content of methionine, suggesting a link to metabolic pathways of methionine production. We suggest that this variability of delta S-34 is transferred to atmospheric geochemical products of DMSP degradation (DMS, MSA, and NSS-SO42-), carrying implications for the interpretation of variability in delta S-34 of MSA and NSS-SO42- that links them to changes in growth conditions and populations of DMSP producers rather than to the contributions of DMS and non-DMS sources.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)9012-9016
    Number of pages5
    JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
    Issue number23
    Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2012


    • cloud condensation nuclei
    • isotopic fractionation
    • marine algae
    • remote atmosphere
    • sulfate assimilation
    • ALGAE


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