Plankton respiration in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean

Robinson, Carol; Serret, Pablo; Tilstone, Gavin; Teira, Eva; Zubkov, Mikhail V.; Rees, Andrew P.; Woodward, E. Malcolm S.. 2002 Plankton respiration in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean. Deep-Sea Research I, 49 (5). 787-813.

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Concurrent measurements of dark community respiration (DCR), gross production (GP), size fractionated primary production (14C PP), nitrogen uptake, nutrients, chlorophyll a concentration, and heterotrophic and autotrophic bacterial abundance were collected from the upper 200 m of a latitudinal (32°S–48°N) transect in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean during May/June 1998. The mean mixed layer respiration rate was 2.5±2.1 mmol O2 m−3 d−1 (n=119) for the whole transect, 2.2±1.1 mmol O2 m−3 d−1 (n=32) in areas where chlorophyll a was <0.5 mg m−3 and 1.5±0.7 mmol O2 m−3 d−1 (n=10) where chlorophyll a was <0.2 mg m−3. These values lie within the range of published data collected in comparable waters, they co-vary with indicators of heterotrophic and autotrophic biomass (heterotrophic bacterial abundance, chlorophyll a concentration, beam attenuation and particulate organic carbon concentration) and they can be reconciled with accepted estimates of total respiratory activity. The mean and median respiratory quotient (RQ), calculated as the ratio of dissolved inorganic carbon production to dissolved oxygen consumption, was 0.8 (n=11). At the time of the study, plankton community respiration exceeded GP in the picoautotroph dominated oligotrophic regions (Eastern Tropical Atlantic [15.5°S–14.2°N] and North Atlantic Subtropical Gyre [21.5–42.5°N]), which amounted to 50% of the stations sampled along the 12,100 km transect. These regions also exhibited high heterotrophic: autotrophic biomass ratios, higher turnover rates of phytoplankton than of bacteria and low f ratios. However, the carbon supply mechanisms required to sustain the rates of respiration higher than GP could not be fully quantified. Future research should aim to determine the temporal balance of respiration and GP together with substrate supply mechanisms in these ocean regions.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0967-0637
Additional Keywords: Plankton; Respiration; Gross production; Net community production; Eastern Atlantic Ocean
Date made live: 28 Aug 2008 +0 (UTC)

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