Microplankton dynamics under heavy anthropogenic pressure. The case of the Bahía Blanca Estuary, southwestern Atlantic Ocean

López Abbate, M. Celeste, Molinero, Juan Carlos, Guinder, Valeria A., Dutto, M. Sofía, Barría de Cao, M. Sonia, Ruiz Etcheverry, Laura A., Pettigrosso, Rosa E., Carcedo, M. Cecilia and Hoffmeyer, Mónica S. (2015) Microplankton dynamics under heavy anthropogenic pressure. The case of the Bahía Blanca Estuary, southwestern Atlantic Ocean Marine Pollution Bulletin, 95 (1). pp. 305-314. DOI 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2015.03.026.

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Abstract

Quantifying biotic feedbacks in response to environmental signals is fundamental to assess ecosystem perturbation. We analyzed the joint effects of eutrophication, derived from sewage pollution, and climate at the base of the pelagic food web in the Bahía Blanca Estuary (SW Atlantic Ocean). A two-year survey of environmental conditions and microplankton communities was conducted in two sites affected by contrasting anthropogenic eutrophication conditions. Under severe eutrophication, we found higher phytoplankton abundance consistently dominated by smaller sized, non siliceous species, while microzooplankton abundance remained lower and nutrient stoichiometry showed conspicuous deviations from the Redfield ratio. Phytoplankton growth in such conditions appeared controlled by phosphorous. In turn, microplankton biomass and phytoplankton size ratio (<20. μm:>20. μm) displayed a saturation relationship with nutrients in the highly eutrophic area, although mean phytoplankton growth was similar in both eutrophic systems. The strength of links within the estuarine network, quantified through path analysis, showed enhanced relationships under larger anthropogenic eutrophication, which fostered the climate influence on microplankton communities. Our results show conspicuous effects of severe sewage pollution on the ecological stoichiometry, i.e., N and P excess with respect to Si, altering nutrient ratios for microplankton communities. This warns on wide consequences on food web dynamics and ultimately in ecosystem assets of coastal pelagic environments.

Document Type: Article
Additional Information: WOS:000356741000045
Keywords: Climate; Estuaries; Eutrophication; Microplankton; Nutrient stoichiometry; Path analysis
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EOE-N Experimental Ecology - Food Webs
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2015.03.026
ISSN: 0025-326X
Related URLs:
Projects: OCEAN-CERTAIN, Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2015 11:21
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2017 12:48
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/28537

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