Diversity, Ecology, and Biogeochemical Influence of N2-Fixing Microorganisms in the Sea

Matthew Church, Daniela Böttjer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Dinitrogen-fixing (N2-fixing) microorganisms, termed "diazotrophs" include members of the bacteria and archaea, and are functionally important microbes that supply nitrogen (N) to the biosphere by converting N2 to ammonia (NH3). In the open sea, this process is an important mode of introducing fixed N to the marine food web and is inextricably linked to the cycling of other bioessential nutrients. Here, we review the genetic and metabolic basis for oceanic diazotroph diversity and discuss how this diversity impacts biogeochemical cycles and conclude with how changes to marine ecosystems might influence the future role of diazotophs in ocean ecology and biogeochemistry.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Biodiversity
Subtitle of host publicationSecond Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780123847195
ISBN (Print)9780123847201
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013


  • Biological carbon pump
  • Carbon cycle
  • Diazotrophs
  • Elemental stoichiometry
  • New production
  • Nitrogen cycle
  • Nitrogen fixation
  • Nitrogenase
  • Nutrient cycling
  • Oligotrophic
  • Oligotrophic open ocean
  • Subtropical gyres


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