The herbivorous impact of microzooplankton during two short-term Lagrangian experiments off the NW coast of Galicia in summer 1998

Fileman, Elaine; Burkill, Peter. 2001 The herbivorous impact of microzooplankton during two short-term Lagrangian experiments off the NW coast of Galicia in summer 1998. Progress in Oceanography, 51 (2-4). 361-383.

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Microzooplankton (heterotrophic microplankton and heterotrophic nanoflagellates) and their herbivorous activity were estimated from dilution experiments in August 1998 during two Lagrangian drift experiments that sampled contrasting conditions—an upwelling/relaxation event along the shelf edge and an oligotrophic offshore filament. During upwelling/relaxation, heterotrophic microplankton were present at mean surface concentrations between 15,000 and 48,000 cells l−1. Heterotrophic nanoflagellate concentrations were between 200 and 700 cells ml−1 and the most abundant component of the heterotrophic microplankton was the aloricate choreotrich ciliates which increased dramatically in concentration from 6,000 to 24,000 cells l−1 during the first 4 days of the study. Total microzooplankton biomass reached a maximum of 39mgC.m−3. In the filament, which developed from the upwelling, cell concentrations were lower and averaged 4,500 cells l−1 for heterotrophic microplankton and 250 cells ml−1 for heterotrophic nanoflagellates. Total microzooplankton biomass was about 10–12mgC.m−3. Microzooplankton turned over between 40 and 85% of the phytoplankton standing stock, thereby consuming between 5 and 78mg phytoplankton carbon.m−3.d−1. The magnitude of this activity was highest during upwelling/relaxation and was positively correlated to heterotrophic nanoflagellate biomass and chlorophyll-a concentration but not heterotrophic microplankton biomass. The proportion of primary production grazed decreased from 160 to 59% d−1 during upwelling/relaxation and ranged between 60 and 90% d−1 in the filament. Microzooplankton herbivory within the euphotic zone increased from 684 to >2000mgC.m−2.d−1 during upwelling/relaxation and was between 327 and 802mgC.m−2.d−1 in the filament. Although microzooplankton herbivory was lower and less variable during the filament study, microzooplankton consumed on average 60% of the phytoplankton standing stocks which was higher than found during upwelling/relaxation. Microzooplankton assimilation efficiency ranged between 3 and 33% during upwelling/relaxation and between 0 and 13% in the filament. Our data demonstrate a close coupling between phytoplankton growth and microzooplankton herbivory in surface waters off the Galician Coast and suggest that microzooplankton may have been a significant sink for phytogenic carbon during August 1998.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0079-6611
Date made live: 10 Jul 2006 +0 (UTC)

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