Microzooplankton dynamics during the development of the spring bloom in the northeast Atlantic.

ES Fileman, Ray Leakey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Microzooplankton community composition, abundance, biomass and grazing impact were assessed, along with measurements of ciliate growth and mortality, during the onset of the spring bloom in the north-east Atlantic. The study was undertaken as part of the UK Blogeochemical Ocean Flux Study during I May to 15 June 1990. The microzooplankton community was composed of protozoans and metazoan developmental stages with respective mixed-layer depth integrated biomass values ranging from 127 to 638 and 74 to 394 mg C m(-2). High numbers of aloricate ciliates (up to 35,000 cells 1(-1)) dominated the microzooplankton community during early May prior to the onset of the spring bloom. Ciliate abundance then declined rapidly during mid-May with community growth rates ranging from -0.71 to 0.23 d(-1). High abundances of metazoplankton (up to 400 1(-1)) were also recorded at this time and may have contributed to the decline in ciliate numbers. In late May and early June the protozoan community comprised a more even mix of dinoflagellates, tintinnids and aloricate ciliates. Phytoplankton mortality rates, measured using a dilution technique, ranged from 0.2 to 0.5 d(-1). The microzooplankton consumed 8 to 44 mu g C I(-1)d(-1), equivalent to between 16 and 40% of the chlorophyll biomass and 38 and 154% of primary production. These high rates of herbivory reflect the predominance of small ( <5 mu m in length) phytoplankton cells present throughout the first half of the study and support previous studies demonstrating the microzooplankton to be the main grazers of phytoplankton in the north-cast Atlantic. However, there is also evidence that a disparity between predator and prey may have prevented a response by the microzooplankton to rapid increases in phytoplankton biomass and production during the spring bloom.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)741-753
Number of pages13
JournalJ MAR BIOL ASSOC UK
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Keywords

  • FOOD-CHAIN
  • SEA
  • COMMUNITY STRUCTURE
  • ABUNDANCE
  • Marine & Freshwater Biology
  • PLANKTON
  • GROWTH-RATES
  • ACARTIA-TONSA
  • OCEAN
  • PHYTOPLANKTON
  • EQUATORIAL PACIFIC

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