Latitudinal changes in the standing stocks of nano- and picophytoplankton in the Atlantic Ocean

Tarran, G.A.; Heywood, J.L.; Zubkov, M.V.. 2006 Latitudinal changes in the standing stocks of nano- and picophytoplankton in the Atlantic Ocean. Deep Sea Research II, 53 (14-16). 1516-1529.

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The latitudinal distributions of picoeukaryote phytoplankton (PEUK), coccolithophores (COCCO), cryptophytes (CRYPTO) and other nanoeukaryote phytoplankton (NEUK) were studied in the Atlantic Ocean between 49°N and 46°S in September–October 2003 and April–June 2004 by flow cytometry. Phytoplankton abundance and carbon (C) biomass varied considerably with latitude and down through the water column. Abundance and C biomass of all eukaryotic groups studied were highest in North and South Atlantic temperate waters and in the Mauritanian Upwelling off the west coast of Africa, where the total C biomass of eukaryotic phytoplankton smaller than 10 μm reached almost 150 mg C m−3. Phytoplankton in the Equatorial Upwelling region was concentrated well below the surface at 50–80 m, with total C biomass in this layer being approximately 4 times that in the mixed layer. The North and South Atlantic Gyres supported much lower eukaryotic phytoplankton C biomass, with total eukaryote C biomass only reaching 2–3 mg C m−3, peaking below 100 m. Of the four eukaryote groups studied, the PEUK were the most abundant, reaching densities of up to 40,000 cells cm−3. They often contributed between 25% and 60% of total C biomass, particularly in the deep chlorophyll maxima of the different oceanic regions and also in the South Atlantic temperate waters, both in austral spring and autumn. NEUK also contributed significantly to C biomass. They generally dominated in the mixed layer, where they contributed 65–85% of total C biomass in the subtropical gyres and in North Atlantic temperate waters. CRYPTO and COCCO were generally less abundant. CRYPTO attained highest abundance in the Southern Temperate waters of over 500 cells cm−3 on both cruises. COCCO were often undetectable but on the European continental shelf abundance reached up to 2600 cells cm−3 during AMT 14. The C biomass standing stock of eukaryotic phytoplankton (<10 μm) for the Atlantic Ocean as a whole was estimated to be 80 million tonnes C during AMT 13, approximately one-third of total phytoplankton C biomass in the Atlantic Ocean.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0967-0645
Additional Keywords: Atlantic Ocean; Atlantic Meridional Transect; fflow cytometry; nanoplankton; picoplankton; community composition
Date made live: 18 Oct 2006 +0 (UTC)

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