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Primary production, new production, and growth rate in the equatorial Pacific: Changes from mesotrophic to oligotrophic regime

Abstract : Under an apparent monotony characterized by low phytoplankton biomass and production, the Pacific equatorial system may hide great latitudinal differences in plankton dynamics. On the basis of 13 experiments conducted along the 180° meridian (8°S–8°N) from upwelled to oligotrophic waters, primary production was strongly correlated to chlorophyll a (chl a), and the productivity index PI (chl a-normalized production rate) varied independently of macronutrient concentrations. Rates of total (14C uptake) and new (15N-NO3 uptake) primary production were measured in situ at 3°S in nutrient-rich advected waters and at 0° where the upwelling velocity was expected to be maximal. Primary production was slightly higher at the equator, but productivity index profiles were identical. Despite similar NO3 concentrations, new production rates were 2.6 times higher at 0° than at 3°S, in agreement with much higher concentrations of biogenic particulate silica and silicic acid uptake rates (32Si method) at the equator. Furthermore, phytoplankton carbon concentrations from flow cytometric and microscopical analyses were used with pigment and production values to assess C:chl a ratios and instantaneous growth rates (μ). Growth rates in the water column were significantly higher, and C:chl a ratios lower at 0° than at 3°S, which is consistent with the more proximate position of the equatorial station to the source of new iron upwelling into the euphotic zone. For the transect as a whole, compensatory (inverse) changes of C:chl a and μ in response to varying growth conditions appear to maintain a high and relatively invariant PI throughout the equatorial region, from high-nutrient to oligotrophic waters.
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https://hal.univ-brest.fr/hal-00456548
Contributor : Ivo Grigorov <>
Submitted on : Monday, February 15, 2010 - 1:15:11 PM
Last modification on : Monday, August 31, 2020 - 5:42:03 PM

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Aubert Le Bouteiller, Aude Leynaert, Michael Landry, R. Le Borgne, Jacques Neveux, et al.. Primary production, new production, and growth rate in the equatorial Pacific: Changes from mesotrophic to oligotrophic regime. Journal of Geophysical Research. Oceans, Wiley-Blackwell, 2003, 108, pp.8141. ⟨10.1029/2001JC000914⟩. ⟨hal-00456548⟩

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