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Coastal Mediterranean plankton stimulation dynamics through a dust storm event: An experimental simulation

AuthorsRomero, Estela ; Peters, Francesc ; Marrasé, Cèlia ; Guadayol, Òscar ; Gasol, Josep M. ; Weinbauer, Markus G.
KeywordsAeolian dust
Nutrient enrichment
Microbial community
NW Mediterranean
Coastal area
Issue DateMay-2011
CitationEstuarine Coastal and Shelf Science 93 (1): 27-39 (2011)
AbstractAn enhancement of aeolian inputs to the ocean due to a future increase in aridity in certain parts of the world is predicted from global change. We conducted an experimental simulation to assess the biological response of NW Mediterranean coastal surface waters to an episodic dust addition. On the assumption that planktonic growth was limited by phosphorus, dust effects were compared to those induced by equivalent enrichments of phosphate. The experiment analyzed the dynamics of several parameters during one week: inorganic nutrients, total and fractioned chlorophyll a, bacterial abundance, phytoplankton species composition, abundance of autotrophic and heterotrophic flagellates, particulate organic carbon and particulate organic nitrogen. The maximum addition of dust (0.5 g dust L−1) initiated an increase in bacterial abundance. After 48 h, bacterial numbers decreased due to a peak in heterotrophic flagellates and a significant growth of autotrophic organisms, mainly nanoflagellates but also diatoms, was observed. Conversely, lower inputs of dust (0.05 g dust L−1) and phosphate enrichments (0.5 μmol PO43− L−1) only produced increases in phototrophic nanoflagellates. In our experiment, dust triggered bacterial growth, changed phytoplankton dynamics and affected the ratio of autotrophic to heterotrophic biomass, adding to the variability in the sources that affect system dynamics, energy and carbon budgets and ultimately higher trophic levels of the coastal marine food web.
Description13 pages, 7 figures, 3 tables
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecss.2011.03.019
Appears in Collections:(ICM) Artículos
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