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Seasonal contribution of living phytoplankton carbon to vertical fluxes in a coastal upwelling system (Ría de Vigo, NW Spain)

AutorZúñiga, Diana ; Alonso Pérez, Fernando ; Castro, Carmen G. ; Arbones, Belén ; Figueiras, F. G.
Palabras claveSediment traps
Organic carbon fluxes
Phytoplankton assemblages
Fecha de publicación5-abr-2011
CitaciónContinental Shelf Research 31(5): 414-424 (2011)
ResumenThe aim of this study is to explore the contribution of living phytoplankton carbon to vertical fluxes in a coastal upwelling system as a key piece to understand the coupling between primary production in the photic layer and the transfer mechanisms of the organic material from the photic zone. Between April 2004 and January 2005, five campaigns were carried out in the Ría de Vigo (NW Iberian Peninsula) covering the most representative oceanographic conditions for this region. Measurements of particulate organic carbon (POC), chlorophyll-a (chl a), phaeopigments (phaeo), and identification of phytoplankton species were performed on the water column samples and on the organic material collected in sediment traps.The POC fluxes measured by the sediment traps presented no seasonal variation along the studied period ranging around a mean annual value of 1085±365mgm-2d-1, in the upper range of the previously reported values for other coastal systems. The fact that higher POC fluxes were registered during autumn and winter, when primary production rates were at their minimum levels points to a dominant contribution of organic carbon from resuspended sediments on the trap collected material. On the contrary, fluxes of living phytoplankton carbon (Cphyto) and chl a clearly presented a seasonal trend with maximum values during summer upwelling (546mgm-2d-1 and 22mgchl am-2d-1, respectively) and minimum values during winter (22mgm-2d-1 and 0.1mgchl am-2d-1, respectively). The contribution of Cphyto to the vertical flux of POC ranged between 2% and 49% in response to the pelagic phytoplankton community structure. Higher values of Cphyto fluxes were registered under upwelling conditions which favour the dominance of large chain-forming diatoms (Asterionellopsis glacialis and Detonula pumila) that were rapidly transferred to the sediments. By contrast, Cphyto fluxes decreased during the summer stratification associated with a pelagic phytoplankton community dominated by single-cell diatoms and flagellates. Minimal Cphyto fluxes were observed during the winter mixing conditions, when the presence of the benthic specie Paralia sulcata in the water column also points toward strong sediment resuspension.
Versión del editorhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.csr.2010.09.011
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