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Distribution and chromatic adaptation of phytoplankton within a shelf sea thermocline

Hickman, Anna E.; Holligan, P. M.; Moore, C. M.; Sharples, Jonathan; Krivtsov, V.; Palmer, Matthew R.. 2009 Distribution and chromatic adaptation of phytoplankton within a shelf sea thermocline. Limnology and Oceanography, 54 (2). 525-536.

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Abstract/Summary

Observations of vertical gradients in phytoplankton community structure were made through the water column of the seasonally stratified Celtic Sea, including within the thermocline. A deep chlorophyll maximum (DCM) was located within the thermocline at all stations, coupled to the nitracline. Vertical gradients in phytoplankton community composition were routinely observed within the thermocline. The cell abundance maxima for Synechococcus occurred in the upper part of the DCM coincident with a picoeukaryote abundance minima. Picoeukaryote abundance typically increased at or just above the peak of the DCM. Diatoms were observed occasionally at the DCM peak. Pigment compositions and phytoplankton absorption spectra indicated that the different phytoplankton communities were chromatically well adapted to the spectral composition of irradiance at the depths where they occurred in the water column. Profiles of vertical eddy diffusivity revealed that timescales for mixing between the phytoplankton layers within the thermocline were in excess of typical phytoplankton growth rates. The observed vertical gradients in community structure could therefore result from selection and niche partitioning of phytoplankton types on the light and nutrient gradient within the thermocline. The data further indicate that the pigments, light absorption characteristics, and cell size contribute to the phytoplankton selection process.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Programmes: POL Programmes > Modelling and observation systems for shelf seas
ISSN: 0024-3590
Additional Keywords: ; UPPER OCEAN;SHELF SEA PROCESSES;SARGASSO SEA;INTERNAL TIDE; CONTINENTAL SHELF;PHYSICAL STABILITY; SPECTRAL ABSORPTION; VERTICAL DISTRIBUTION; NORTH EASTERN ATLANTIC OCEAN; NORTH ATLANTIC OCEAN; DEEP CHLOROPHYLL MAXIMUM;
NORA Subject Terms: Marine Sciences
Date made live: 03 Aug 2010 13:13
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/9710

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