Dynamics and stoichiometry of nutrients and phytoplankton in waters influenced by the oxygen minimum zone in the eastern tropical Pacific.

Franz, Jasmin, Krahmann, Gerd , Lavik, Gaute, Grasse, Patricia , Dittmar, Thorsten and Riebesell, Ulf (2012) Dynamics and stoichiometry of nutrients and phytoplankton in waters influenced by the oxygen minimum zone in the eastern tropical Pacific. Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, 62 . pp. 20-31. DOI 10.1016/j.dsr.2011.12.004.

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Abstract

The tropical South East Pacific is characterized by strong coastal upwelling on the narrow continental shelf and an intense oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) in the intermediate water layer. These hydrographic properties are responsible for a permanent supply of intermediate water masses to the surface rich in nutrients and with a remarkably low inorganic N:P stoichiometry. To investigate the impact of OMZ-influenced upwelling waters on phytoplankton growth, elemental and taxonomical composition we measured hydrographic and biogeochemical parameters along an east–west transect at 10°S in the tropical South East Pacific, stretching from the upwelling region above the narrow continental shelf to the well-stratified oceanic section of the eastern boundary regime. New production in the area of coastal upwelling was driven by large-sized phytoplankton (e.g. diatoms) with generally low N:P ratios (<16:1). While nitrate and phosphate concentrations were at levels not limiting phytoplankton growth along the entire transect, silicate depletion prohibited diatom growth further off-shore. A deep chlorophyll a maximum consisting of pico-/nano- (Synechococcus, flagellates) and microphytoplankton occurred within a pronounced thermocline in subsurface waters above the shelf break and showed intermediate N:P ratios close to Redfield proportions. High PON:POP (>20:1) ratios were observed in the stratified open ocean section of the transect, coinciding with the abundance of two strains of the pico-cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus; a high-light adapted strain in the surface layer and a low-light adapted strain occurring along the oxic-anoxic transition zone below the thermocline. Excess phosphate present along the entire transect did not appear to stimulate growth of nitrogen-fixing phytoplankton, as pigment fingerprinting did not indicate the presence of diazotrophic cyanobacteria at any of our sampling stations. Instead, a large fraction of the excess phosphate generated within the oxygen minimum zone was consumed by non-Redfield production of large phytoplankton in shelf surface waters.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Physical Oceanography; Biological Oceanography; Paleoceanography; Oceanography; Biogeochemistry; Phytoplankton; N:P stoichiometry; Oxygen minimum zone; Coastal upwelling
Research affiliation: OceanRep > SFB 754 > A5
OceanRep > SFB 754 > B2
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-PO Physical Oceanography
OceanRep > SFB 754 > B4
OceanRep > SFB 754
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-P-OZ Paleo-Oceanography
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-BI Biological Oceanography
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.dsr.2011.12.004
ISSN: 0967-0637
Projects: SFB754, Future Ocean
Expeditions/Models/Experiments:
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2012 08:58
Last Modified: 01 Nov 2016 14:08
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/13551

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