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Influence of mussel culture on the vertical export of phytoplankton carbon in a coastal upwelling embayment (Ría de Vigo, NW Iberia)

AuthorsFroján, M. ; Figueiras, F. G. ; Zúñiga, Diana ; Alonso Pérez, Fernando ; Arbones, Belén ; Castro, Carmen G.
Mussel culture
Sedimentation flux
Ría de Vigo
Issue Date2016
CitationEstuaries and Coasts 39(5): 1449-1462 (2016)
AbstractThe goal of this paper is to find out whether suspended mussel culture affects the vertical fluxes of biogenic particles in the Ría de Vigo on a seasonal scale. With this aim, vertical fluxes of particulate organic carbon (POC) and the magnitude and composition of vertical export of phytoplankton carbon (Cphyto) collected in sediment traps were examined by comparing data obtained inside a mussel farming area (RaS) with those found at a reference station (ReS) not affected by mussels. Our results indicate that mussel farming has a strong impact on sedimentation fluxes under the rafts, not only increasing POC flux but also altering the magnitude and composition of Cphyto fluxes. Average POC flux at RaS (2564 ± 1936 mg m−2 day−1) was four times higher than at ReS (731 ± 276 mg m−2 day−1), and much of this increase was due to biodeposit fluxes (Cbiodep) which accounted for large proportion of POC flux (35–60 %). Indeed, because of this high Cbiodep flux, only a small proportion of the POC flux was due to Cphyto flux (3–12 %). At the same time, we observed an increased sedimentation of phytoplankton cells at RaS that could be explained by a combination of mechanisms: less energetic hydrodynamic conditions under mussel rafts, ballast effect by sinking mussel feces, and diatom aggregates. Moreover, mussel farming also altered the quality of the Cphyto flux by removing part of the predatory pressure of zooplankton and thus matching diatom composition in water column and sediment traps
Description14 páginas, 2 tablas, 8 figuras
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12237-016-0093-1
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