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Significance of the Polar Frontal Zone for large-sized diatoms and new production during summer in the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean

Tremblay, J.E.; Lucas, M.I.; Kattner, G.; Pollard, R.T.; Strass, V.H.; Bathmann, U.V.; Bracher, A.. 2002 Significance of the Polar Frontal Zone for large-sized diatoms and new production during summer in the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean. Deep-Sea Research II, 49 (18). 3793-3811. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0967-0645(02)00111-X

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Abstract/Summary

The chlorophyll a (chl a) biomass and primary production of three phytoplankton size fractions were estimated in the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean from 12 December 1995 to 20 January 1996. Elevated concentrations of chl a, primary production, and contribution of microplankton (>20 μm) coincided with dominance by large or long-chained diatoms (Thalassiothrix spp., Pseudonitzschia lineola, and Chaetoceros spp.) in the Polar Frontal Zone (PFZ, 49.5°S–52°S). Vertically resolved assimilation numbers (i.e. primary production normalized to chl a) and intrinsic growth rates of microplankton were much lower at high-biomass stations of the Northern Polar Frontal Zone (NPFZ) than in adjacent waters. Silicic acid appeared to be the proximal factor limiting the growth and yield of resident diatoms in the NPFZ. A carbon budget showed that, during the sampling period, diatom dominance at high-biomass sites was associated with near-steady-state conditions. This system exhibited a low POC sinking flux relative to total primary production, despite strong dominance by microplankton. South of 52°S, total chl a and primary production were generally low, but increased sharply in a mixed Phaeocystis-diatom bloom that extended from 61°S to 65°S in the Seasonal Ice Zone (SIZ). We estimated that the PFZ contributes from 37% to 67% of the total open-water new production in the Southern Ocean near the Greenwich meridian, depending on whether blooms occur or not in the SIZ.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1016/S0967-0645(02)00111-X
ISSN: 0967-0645
Date made live: 10 Sep 2008 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/163100

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