Water soluble organic nitrogen (WSON) has been measured in aerosols collected on three research cruises on the Atlantic Ocean from approximately 55°N to 45°S. Results are interpreted using air mass back trajectories and results for other aerosol components. WSON concentrations range from 1 µm) aerosol. Concentrations of WSON were highest in samples containing Saharan dust, suggesting a locally significant source associated with soil dust. More generally WSON concentrations were highest in air which had recently crossed continental areas. In the whole data set, WSON is well correlated to total soluble nitrogen and represents approximately 25% of total nitrogen. This correlation implies a significant anthropogenic contribution to the organic nitrogen.