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Phytoplankton pigment and absorption characteristics along meridional transects in the Atlantic Ocean

Phytoplankton pigment and absorption characteristics along meridional transects in the Atlantic Ocean
Phytoplankton pigment and absorption characteristics along meridional transects in the Atlantic Ocean
Pigment patterns and associated absorption properties of phytoplankton were investigated in the euphotic zone along two meridional transects in the Atlantic Ocean, between the UK and the Falkland Islands, and between South Africa and the UK. Total chlorophyll a (TChla=MVChla+DVChla+chlorophyllide a) concentrations and the biomarker pigments for diatoms (fucoxanthin), nanoflagellates and cyanobacteria (zeaxanthin) appeared to have similar distribution patterns in the spring and in the autumn in the temperate NE Atlantic and the northern oligotrophic gyre. Divinyl chlorophyll a levels (prochlorophytes) were greater in spring at the deep chlorophyll maximum in the oligotrophic gyre, however. Marked seasonal differences were observed in the NW African upwelling region. TChla concentrations were twice as high in the upper mixed layer in the spring, with the community dominated by diatoms and prymnesiophytes (19?-hexanoyloxyfucoxanthin). A layered structure was prevalent in the autumn where cyanobacteria, diatoms and prymnesiophytes were located in the upper water column and diatoms and mixed nanoflagellates at the sub-surface maximum. In the South Atlantic, the Benguela upwelling ecosystem and the Brazil-Falklands Current Confluence Zone (BFCCZ) were the most productive regions with the TChla levels being twice as high in the Benguela. Diatoms dominated the Benguela system, while nanoflagellates were the most ubiquitous group in the BFCCZ. Pigment concentrations were greater along the eastern boundary of the southern oligotrophic gyre and distributed at shallower depths. Deep chlorophyll maxima were a feature of the western boundary oligotrophic waters, and cyanobacteria tended to dominate the upper water column along both transects with a mixed group of nanoflagellates at the chlorophyll maximum.
Absorption coefficients were estimated from spectra reconstructed from pigment data. Although absorption was greater in the productive areas, the TChla-specific coefficients were higher in oligotrophic regions. In communities that were dominated by diatoms or nanoflagellates, pigment absorption was generally uniform with depth and attenuating irradiance, with TChla being the major absorbing pigment at 440 nm and photosynthetic carotenoids (PSC) at 490 nm. Absorption by chlorophyll c and photoprotective carotenoids (PPC) was much lower. Populations where cyanobacteria were prevalent were characterized by high PPC absorption, particularly at 490 nm, throughout most of the euphotic zone. The data suggested that the effect of pigments on the variability of phytoplankton absorption was due primarily to the variations in absorption by PPC.
PHYTOPLANKTON, PIGMENTS, ABSORPTION, ATLANTIC OCEAN
0967-0637
637-660
Barlow, R.G.
55921118-2e61-4fd0-bcc9-fac953c0aaa4
Aiken, J.
afdc4c64-e66d-43e7-a81a-241169a6604d
Holligan, P.M.
4c1d9d64-dfa7-49bf-9e15-37f891d59b7c
Cummings, D.G.
18d05eac-9619-41fd-b254-436cd9475ffd
Maritorena, S.
31d15361-76e0-45c2-8887-7bd1baba53c2
Hooker, S.
b7f2f244-dc09-499f-a879-82a7817ece38
Barlow, R.G.
55921118-2e61-4fd0-bcc9-fac953c0aaa4
Aiken, J.
afdc4c64-e66d-43e7-a81a-241169a6604d
Holligan, P.M.
4c1d9d64-dfa7-49bf-9e15-37f891d59b7c
Cummings, D.G.
18d05eac-9619-41fd-b254-436cd9475ffd
Maritorena, S.
31d15361-76e0-45c2-8887-7bd1baba53c2
Hooker, S.
b7f2f244-dc09-499f-a879-82a7817ece38

Barlow, R.G., Aiken, J., Holligan, P.M., Cummings, D.G., Maritorena, S. and Hooker, S. (2002) Phytoplankton pigment and absorption characteristics along meridional transects in the Atlantic Ocean. Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, 49 (4), 637-660. (doi:10.1016/S0967-0637(01)00081-4).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Pigment patterns and associated absorption properties of phytoplankton were investigated in the euphotic zone along two meridional transects in the Atlantic Ocean, between the UK and the Falkland Islands, and between South Africa and the UK. Total chlorophyll a (TChla=MVChla+DVChla+chlorophyllide a) concentrations and the biomarker pigments for diatoms (fucoxanthin), nanoflagellates and cyanobacteria (zeaxanthin) appeared to have similar distribution patterns in the spring and in the autumn in the temperate NE Atlantic and the northern oligotrophic gyre. Divinyl chlorophyll a levels (prochlorophytes) were greater in spring at the deep chlorophyll maximum in the oligotrophic gyre, however. Marked seasonal differences were observed in the NW African upwelling region. TChla concentrations were twice as high in the upper mixed layer in the spring, with the community dominated by diatoms and prymnesiophytes (19?-hexanoyloxyfucoxanthin). A layered structure was prevalent in the autumn where cyanobacteria, diatoms and prymnesiophytes were located in the upper water column and diatoms and mixed nanoflagellates at the sub-surface maximum. In the South Atlantic, the Benguela upwelling ecosystem and the Brazil-Falklands Current Confluence Zone (BFCCZ) were the most productive regions with the TChla levels being twice as high in the Benguela. Diatoms dominated the Benguela system, while nanoflagellates were the most ubiquitous group in the BFCCZ. Pigment concentrations were greater along the eastern boundary of the southern oligotrophic gyre and distributed at shallower depths. Deep chlorophyll maxima were a feature of the western boundary oligotrophic waters, and cyanobacteria tended to dominate the upper water column along both transects with a mixed group of nanoflagellates at the chlorophyll maximum.
Absorption coefficients were estimated from spectra reconstructed from pigment data. Although absorption was greater in the productive areas, the TChla-specific coefficients were higher in oligotrophic regions. In communities that were dominated by diatoms or nanoflagellates, pigment absorption was generally uniform with depth and attenuating irradiance, with TChla being the major absorbing pigment at 440 nm and photosynthetic carotenoids (PSC) at 490 nm. Absorption by chlorophyll c and photoprotective carotenoids (PPC) was much lower. Populations where cyanobacteria were prevalent were characterized by high PPC absorption, particularly at 490 nm, throughout most of the euphotic zone. The data suggested that the effect of pigments on the variability of phytoplankton absorption was due primarily to the variations in absorption by PPC.

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More information

Published date: 2002
Keywords: PHYTOPLANKTON, PIGMENTS, ABSORPTION, ATLANTIC OCEAN

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 6099
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/6099
ISSN: 0967-0637
PURE UUID: 04ea9b6b-8c37-400d-9f30-aa2e95a53bc3

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Date deposited: 24 Jun 2004
Last modified: 15 Jul 2019 19:38

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