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Possible mixotrophy of pigmented nanoflagellates: microbial plankton biomass, primary production and phytoplankton growth in the NW Iberian upwelling in spring

AuthorsCrespo, B. G. ; Espinoza-González, O. ; Teixeira, I. G. ; Castro, Carmen G. ; Figueiras, F. G.
KeywordsMicrobial plankton biomass
Autotrophic nanoflagellates
Coastal upwelling
NW Iberia
Issue Date24-Jun-2011
CitationEstuarine Coastal and Shelf Science 94(2): 172–181 (2011)
AbstractMicrobial plankton biomass, primary production (PP) and phytoplankton growth rates (μ) were estimated along the NW Iberian margin during an upwelling relaxation event. Although the interaction between wind forcing and coastline singularities caused high spatial variability in PP (0.4–8.4 g C m−2 d−1), two domains (coastal and oceanic) could be distinguished regarding microbial plankton biomass and μ. At the coastal domain, with higher influence of upwelling, diatoms showed an important contribution (27 ± 17%) to total autotrophic biomass (AB). Nonetheless, AB was dominated by autotrophic nanoflagellates (ANF) at both realms, accounting for 62 ± 16% and 89 ± 6% of the integrated AB at the coastal and oceanic domain respectively. AB and heterotrophic biomass (HB) were significantly higher at the oceanic than at the coastal domain, with both biomasses covarying according to HB:AB = 0.33. Whereas the low phytoplankton carbon to chlorophyll a ratio (Cph:chl a = 38 ± 3) and the high μ = 0.54 ± 0.09 d−1 registered at the coastal stations suggest that phytoplankton was not nutrient limited at this domain, the values (Cph:chl a = 157 ± 8; μ = 0.17 ± 0.02 d−1) recorded at the oceanic domain point to severe nutrient limitation. However, the high Fv/Fm fluorescence ratios (0.56 ± 0.09) measured at the sea surface in the oceanic domain suggest that nutrient limitation did not occur. To reconcile these two apparently opposite views, it is suggested the occurrence of mixotrophic nutrition of ANF, with heterotrophic nutrition supplying about 75% of carbon requirements.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecss.2011.06.008,
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