Does the marine biosphere mix the ocean?

W. K. Dewar*, R. J. Bingham, R. L. Iverson, D. P. Nowacek, L. C. St. Laurent, P. H. Wiebe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

89 Citations (Scopus)


Ocean mixing is thought to control the climatically important oceanic overturning circulation. Here we argue the marine biosphere, by a mechanism like the bioturbation occurring in marine sediments, mixes the oceans as effectively as the winds and tides. This statement is derived ultimately from an estimated 62.7 TeraWatts of chemical power provided to the marine environment in net primary production. Various approaches argue something like 1% (.63 TeraWatts) of this power is invested in aphotic ocean mechanical energy, a rate comparable to wind and tidal inputs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-561
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Marine Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2006

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    Dewar, W. K., Bingham, R. J., Iverson, R. L., Nowacek, D. P., St. Laurent, L. C., & Wiebe, P. H. (2006). Does the marine biosphere mix the ocean? Journal of Marine Research, 64(4), 541-561.