Biodegradation of Emiliania huxleyi aggregates by a natural Mediterranean prokaryotic community under increasing hydrostatic pressure

Riou, Virginie, Para, Julien, Garel, Marc, Guigue, Catherine, Al Ali, Badr, Santinelli, Chiara, Lefèvre, Dominique, Gattuso, Jean-Pierre, Goutx, Madeleine, Jacquet, Stéphanie, Le Moigne, Frederic A. C., Tachikawa, Kazuyo and Tamburini, Christian (In Press / Accepted) Biodegradation of Emiliania huxleyi aggregates by a natural Mediterranean prokaryotic community under increasing hydrostatic pressure Progress in Oceanography . DOI 10.1016/j.pocean.2017.01.005.

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In the deep ocean, fluxes of particulate organic carbon (POC) and calcium carbonate are positively correlated, suggesting that CaCO3 could increase sinking particle densities and/or protect the organic matter from degradation by prokaryotes, the so called “ballast effect”. Here, we used the PArticle Sinking Simulator (PASS) system to investigate the effect of increasing pressure on the biodegradation of calcifying Emiliania huxleyi aggregates. Incubations were carried out over a period of 10 days, simulating the changes in temperature and pressure in the water column of the NW Mediterranean Sea. Aggregates sinking from a depth of 200 m to 1700 m (assuming an average sinking velocity of 150 m d−1) were exposed to a natural mesopelagic prokaryotic community collected from 200 m. In contrast to previous studies, where silicifying diatom aggregates were used, the calcifying E. huxleyi aggregates were found to be more sensitive to degradation with increasing hydrostatic pressure (relative to constant atmospheric pressure). This was confirmed by changes in lipid composition which suggested increased cell lysis. Changes in particulate inorganic carbon and total alkalinity indicated that CaCO3 dissolution might have been faster under pressure. Increased hydrostatic pressure also had a positive effect on particle aggregation, which may compensate for the effect of increased cell lysis. Our results imply that in coccolithophorid-dominated sinking aggregates, the ballasting and protection effects of coccoliths may collapse throughout the water column. The increased aggregation potential with pressure observed in these controlled conditions, may balance the loss of mineral ballast to a certain extent, although this needs to be confirmed in situ.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Biological carbon pump; Mesopelagic; Mineral ballast; Coccolithophorid; Prokaryotes; Biodegradation; Hydrostatic pressure;
Research affiliation: OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-BI Biological Oceanography
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.pocean.2017.01.005
ISSN: 0079-6611
Projects: Future Ocean, SOLAS, IMBER, LOICZ
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2017 13:05
Last Modified: 12 Dec 2017 13:05

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