Taxon-specific growth and selective microzooplankton grazing of phytoplankton in the Northeast Atlantic

Gaul, Wilhelm and Antia, Avan (2001) Taxon-specific growth and selective microzooplankton grazing of phytoplankton in the Northeast Atlantic Journal of Marine Systems, 30 . pp. 241-261. DOI 10.1016/S0924-7963(01)00061-6.

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Taxon-specific microzooplankton dynamics were studied along a transect through the North Atlantic Drift from 70°N 04°E to 40°N 20°W during July 1997 using serial dilution and nutrient-enrichment experiments. Nutrient concentrations and microzooplankton composition indicated postbloom conditions at 40°N, 47°N, and 50°N, a transitional system at 54°N, and bloom conditions at 62°N and 70°N. The ratio of microzooplankton to phytoplankton biomass was inversely related to nitrate and phosphate concentrations. Potential grazing thresholds were observed in four of nine experiments at 40–66% of the initial phytoplankton concentration. Grazing losses were determined for six pigment-specific classes of phytoplankton. Selective grazing losses of phytoplankton taxa ranged from 73% to 248% of the nonselective grazing losses predicted according to their biomass contributions. The grazing selectivity varied considerably between communities, with the microherbivores showing positive selection for cyanobacteria and dinoflagellates and predominantly avoidance of chlorophyta and bacillariophyceae. Microzooplankton did not show a preference for the dominant phytoplankton taxa, but grazed preferentially on fast-growing phytoplankton with minor contributions (<15%) to the phytoplankton biomass. However, bacillariophyceae were the major contributors to phytoplankton biomass and accounted for major fractions of the total losses through microzooplankton grazing. Microzooplankton consumed the equivalent of 0.12–5.5 times their own biomass daily on a carbon basis, amounting to 65–197% of gross phytoplankton production. With the conservative assumption that 20% of the consumed phytoplankton was converted to microzooplankton biomass, the latter was estimated to contribute 27–381% to the net production of the entire microzooplankton community. We therefore conclude that the taxonomic structure and the net production of the microzooplankton communities were significantly affected by the intensity and selectivity of herbivorous microzooplankton grazing.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Microzooplankton; Selective grazing; Phytoplankton pigments; Community structure; Northeast Atlantic
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-BI Biological Oceanography
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1016/S0924-7963(01)00061-6
ISSN: 0924-7963
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2008 17:25
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2017 10:35

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