Redfield Ratios


"Redfield" ratios in particulate debris falling from the surface toward the deep sea compared with the elemental composition of average surface and deep water. These compositions are termed Redfield ratios in honor of Alfred Redfield who did the early work on this subject. For comparison actual P:N:C ratios measured in material sieved from surface waters are shown. These later results were taken from a summary by Goldman.

P: N: C: Ca: Si
Particulate Debris Soft Tissue
Hard Parts
Composite
1: 15: 105: 0: 0
0: 0: 26: 26: 50
1: 15: 131: 26: 50
Sea Water Deep
Warm Surface
1: 15: 1000: 5000: 50
0: 0: 869: 4974: 0

P: N: C
Western North Atlantic (Jan. '62) 1: 5: 59
Western North Atlantic (Apr. '62) 1: 13: 68
Equatorial Atlantic 1: 21: 163
North Pacific Gyre 1: 29: 410
Central North Pacific 1: 18: 152