Distribution of diatoms, coccolithophores and planktic foraminifers along a trophic gradient during SW monsoon in the Arabian Sea

Schiebel, R.; Zeltner, A.; Treppke, U.F.; Waniek, J.J.; Bollmann, J.; Rixen, T.; Hemleben, C.. 2004 Distribution of diatoms, coccolithophores and planktic foraminifers along a trophic gradient during SW monsoon in the Arabian Sea. Marine Micropaleontology, 51 (3-4). 345-371.

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The distribution of diatoms, coccolithophores and planktic foraminifers mirrored the hydrographic and trophic conditions of the surface ocean (0–100 m) across the upwelling area off the Oman coast to the central Arabian Sea during May/June 1997 and July/August 1995. The number of diatoms was increased in waters with local temperature minimum and enhanced nutrient concentration (nitrate, phosphate, silicate) caused by upwelling. Vegetative cells of Chaetoceros dominated the diatom assemblage in the coastal upwelling area. Towards the more nutrient depleted and stratified surface waters to the southeast, the number of diatoms decreased, coccolithophore and planktic foraminiferal numbers increased, and floral and faunal composition changed. In particular, the transition between the eutrophic upwelling region off Oman and the oligotrophic central Arabian Sea was marked by moderate nutrient concentration, and high coccolithophore and foraminifer numbers. Florisphaera profunda, previously often referred as a ‘lower-photic-zone-species’, was frequent in water depths as shallow as 20 m, and at high nutrient concentration up to 14 mol NO3 l−1 and 1.2 mol PO4 l−1. To the oligotrophic southeast of the divergence, cell densities of coccolithophores declined and Umbellosphaera irregularis prevailed throughout the water column down to 100 m depth. In general, total coccolithophore numbers were limited by nutrient threshold concentration, with low numbers (<10×103 cells l−1) at high [NO3] and [PO4], and high numbers (>70×103 cells l−1) at low [NO3] and [PO4]. The components of the complex microplankton succession, diatoms, coccoliths and planktic foraminifers (and possibly others), should ideally be used as a combined paleoceanographic proxy. Consequently, models on plankton ecology should be resolved at least for the seasonality, to account for the bias of paleoceanographic transfer calculations.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0377-8398
Additional Keywords: coccoliths, diatom flora, foraminifera, nutrients, oceanography, paleoceanography
Date made live: 14 Oct 2004 +0 (UTC)

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