Merico, A., Tyrrell, T. and Cokacar, T.
Is there any relationship between phytoplankton seasonal dynamics and the carbonate system?
Journal of Marine Systems, 59, (1-2), . (doi:10.1016/j.jmarsys.2005.11.004).
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Production of calcium carbonate by marine calcifying organisms has been shown to decrease under increasing CO2. This effect appears to be driven by a decrease in [CO32?]. The modelling study here described aims at investigating whether the success of a marine calcifying phytoplankton species, the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi, may be tied to [CO32?]. The work highlights the complex interactions between the carbonate system variables and spring blooms, and the possibility of a link to the competition between calcifying vs. non-calcifying species on the Bering Sea shelf. We find that the strong seasonal cycle in [CO32?] is driven primarily by carbon drawdown during spring blooms. The interesting outcome of this work is the fact that E. huxleyi bloom timings always coincide with periods of high [CO32?], which is consistent with studies showing coccoliths malformations and a slowdown in calcification at low [CO32?]. Whether the condition of high [CO32?] can be considered a crucial ecological factor for the success of E. huxleyi, however, remains an open and important question needing further investigation.
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