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Spatio-temporal changes in the distribution of phytopigments and phytoplanktonic groups at the Porcupine Abyssal Plain (PAP) site

Smythe-Wright, Denise; Boswell, Stephen; Kim, Young-Nam; Kemp, Alan. 2010 Spatio-temporal changes in the distribution of phytopigments and phytoplanktonic groups at the Porcupine Abyssal Plain (PAP) site. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 57 (15). 1324-1335 . 10.1016/j.dsr2.2010.01.009

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Abstract/Summary

We have made a comprehensive study of pigment distributions and microscopically determined phytoplankton abundances within the Porcupine Abyssal Plain (PAP) location in the North Atlantic to better understand phytoplankton variability, and make some suggestions regarding the composition of the material falling to the sea bed and its impacts on benthic organisms such as Amperima rosea. The area has been the focus of many studies of ocean fluxes and benthic communities over recent years, but little attention has been given to the spatio-temporal variability in the surface waters. Dawn casts over a 12-day period at the PAP mooring site (48.83°N 16.5°W) revealed the presence of only one species, the diatom Actinocyclus exiguus, at bloom concentrations for just 5 days. Smaller populations of other diatoms and the dinoflagellates Gymnodinium and Gyrodinium were also present at this time. Following this 5-day interval, a mixed population of small–sized dinoflagellates, prymnesiophytes, prasinophytes, chrysophytes and cyanobacteria occurred. It is clear from concomitant CTD/bottle surveys that rapid changes in phytoplankton community structure at a fixed time series position do not necessarily reflect a degradation or manifestation of one particular species but rather represent the movement of eddies and other water masses within very short timescales. These cause substantial variability in the species class and size fraction that may explain the variability in carbon export that has been seen at the PAP site. We also make some suggestions on the variable composition of the material falling to the seabed and its impact on benthic organisms such as Amperima rosea.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.dsr2.2010.01.009
ISSN: 0967-0645
Additional Keywords: Pigments; Phytoplankton; Variability. North Atlantic; Porcupine Abyssal Plain; 48.83°N 16.5°W
Date made live: 15 Feb 2010 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/172499

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