The influence of extracellular polysaccharides, growth rate, and free coccoliths on the coagulation efficiency of Emiliania huxleyi

Chow, Jennifer Szlosek, Lee, Cindy and Engel, Anja (2015) The influence of extracellular polysaccharides, growth rate, and free coccoliths on the coagulation efficiency of Emiliania huxleyi Marine Chemistry, 175 . pp. 5-17. DOI 10.1016/j.marchem.2015.04.010.

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Abstract

Highlights:
• Coagulation efficiency of the coccolithophorid Emiliania huxleyi was determined with Couette flow devices.
• Higher coagulation efficiencies of cells were observed at lower growth rates.
• Coagulation efficiency increases with the extracellular polysaccharides fraction.

Abstract:
Coagulation of small particles results in the formation of larger aggregates that play an important role in the biological pump, moving carbon and other elements from the surface to the deep ocean and seafloor. In this study, we estimated the efficiency of particle coagulation of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi at different growth rates using Couette flow devices at a natural shear rate. To determine the impacts of chemical and biological factors involved in aggregate formation, we investigated how variance in organic matter composition, and in particular the presence of extracellular polysaccharides (EP), including transparent exopolymer particles (TEP) and acidic polysaccharides attached to the coccolith surface, affect the coagulation efficiency (α). When E. huxleyi was grown in a chemostat at different growth rates, coagulation efficiency increased from ~ 0.40 to 1 as cell growth rates declined and nutrients became more limited. With declining growth rate the concentration of EP and the number of detached coccoliths increased. Overall a close correlation between coagulation efficiency of E. huxleyi and the ratio of EP to total particle volume was observed. The minimum value of α of ~ 0.4 determined during this study is higher than estimates published for other phytoplankton cells, and may be related to the presence of EP attached to coccoliths. Based on our findings, we suggest that E. huxleyi is more prone to form aggregates, particularly during the decline of blooms, when increased production of EP and enhanced shedding of coccoliths coincide. This may be one explanation for why blooms of E. huxleyi play an important role in the biological carbon pump, efficiently enhancing the vertical flux of particles, as has been suggested by sediment trap studies.

Document Type: Article
Additional Information: WOS:000358391100002
Research affiliation: OceanRep > SFB 754 > B9
OceanRep > SFB 754
AWI
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-BI Biological Oceanography
Kiel University
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.marchem.2015.04.010
ISSN: 0304-4203
Projects: SFB754
Date Deposited: 05 May 2015 12:58
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2017 10:08
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/28740

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