High CO2 Under Nutrient Fertilization Increases Primary Production and Biomass in Subtropical Phytoplankton Communities: A Mesocosm Approach.

Hernández-Hernández, Nauzet, Bach, Lennart T. , Montero, María F., Taucher, Jan , Baños, Isabel, Guan, Wanchun, Esposito, Mario, Ludwig, Andrea, Achterberg, Eric P. , Riebesell, Ulf and Arístegui, Javier (2018) High CO2 Under Nutrient Fertilization Increases Primary Production and Biomass in Subtropical Phytoplankton Communities: A Mesocosm Approach. Open Access Frontiers in Marine Science, 5 . Art.Nr. 213. DOI 10.3389/fmars.2018.00213.

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The subtropical oceans are home to one of the largest ecosystems on Earth, contributing to nearly one third of global oceanic primary production. Ocean warming leads to enhanced stratification in the oligotrophic ocean but also intensification in cross-shore wind gradients and thus in eddy kinetic energy across eastern boundary regions of the subtropical gyres. Phytoplankton thriving in a future warmer oligotrophic subtropical ocean with enhanced CO2 levels could therefore be patchily fertilized by increased mesoscale and submesoscale variability inducing nutrient pumping into the surface ocean. Under this premise, we have tested the response of three size classes (0.2-2, 2-20, and > 20 μm) of subtropical phytoplankton communities in terms of primary production, chlorophyll and cell biomass, to increasing CO2 concentrations and nutrient fertilization during an in situ mesocosm experiment in oligotrophic waters offof the island of Gran Canaria. We found no significant CO2-related effect on primary production and biomass under oligotrophic conditions (phase I). In contrast, primary production, chlorophyll and biomass displayed a significant and pronounced increase under elevated CO2 conditions in all groups after nutrient fertilization, both during the bloom (phase II) and post-bloom (phase III) conditions. Although the relative increase of primary production in picophytoplankton (250%) was 2.5 higher than in microphytoplankton (100%) after nutrient fertilization, comparing the high and low CO2 treatments, microphytoplankton dominated in terms of biomass, contributing > 57% to the total. These results contrast with similar studies conducted in temperate and cold waters, where consistently small phytoplankton benefitted after nutrient additions at high CO2, pointing to different CO2-sensitivities across plankton communities and ecosystem types in the ocean.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: ocean acidification, nutrient fertilization, mesocosm, size-fractionated primary production, phytoplankton community structure, subtropical North Atlantic
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-BI Biological Oceanography
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-CH Chemical Oceanography
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.3389/fmars.2018.00213
ISSN: 2296-7745
Date Deposited: 16 Jul 2018 08:13
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2021 07:37
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/43660

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