MBARI: No that’s not an African word for “Hello”, that’s the acronym for the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute which has been researching the 90+ elements in the ocean for years, and they have compiled an interactive “Periodic Table of Elements in the Ocean” which allows you to click on each element and find out more about its characteristics in the ocean. Click here for an example summarizing information you can find by clicking on Nitrogen (N):
The most stable form of nitrogen in solution in the presence of oxygen is NO3–, which phytoplankton use to make ammonia (NH3) for their own consumption, and bacteria will break it back down again to NO3–. This interchange will go back and forth, while changes such as depth, temperature, and oxygen content will also form other ions like NO2–, N2, and N2O. Nitrogen is most abundant deeper in the ocean and is brought to the surface through upwelling currents in Spring, Summer, and Fall. With regard to its vertical distribution, the data covers elements in solution with the ocean, and does not count elements taken up by cyanobacteria, algae, and other plankton. With the plankton factored in, N2 is concentrated in the top 30 feet (the euphotic zone) of the ocean where sunlight can grow chlorophyll. Its also significant to note that Nitrogen correlates evenly with Phosphorus (P) at a 10:1 ratio. The bottom line is Nitrogen helps Phosphorus stay aqueous instead of all the Phosphorus sinking to the ocean floor.
Click the “Periodic Table” link above to see more for yourself: MBARI—Monterey Bay Aquarium research Institute–Periodic Table of Elements in the Ocean