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Chemometric perspectives on plankton community responses to natural iron fertilisation over and downstream of the Kerguelen Plateau in the Southern Ocean


Trull, TW and Davies, DM and Dehairs, F and Cavagna, AJ and Lasbleiz, M and Laurenceau-Cornec, EC and D'Ovidio, F and Planchon, F and Leblanc, K and Queguiner, B and Blain, S, Chemometric perspectives on plankton community responses to natural iron fertilisation over and downstream of the Kerguelen Plateau in the Southern Ocean, Biogeosciences, 12, (4) pp. 1029-1056. ISSN 1726-4170 (2015) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 The Author

DOI: doi:10.5194/bg-12-1029-2015


We examined phytoplankton community responses to natural iron fertilisation at 32 sites over and downstream from the Kerguelen Plateau in the Southern Ocean during the austral spring bloom in October–November 2011. The community structure was estimated from chemical and isotopic measurements (particulate organic carbon – POC; 13C-POC; particulate nitrogen – PN; 15N-PN; and biogenic silica – BSi) on size-fractionated samples from surface waters (300, 210, 50, 20, 5, and 1 μm fractions). Higher values of 13C-POC (vs. co-located 13C values for dissolved inorganic carbon – DIC) were taken as indicative of faster growth rates and higher values of 15N-PN (vs. co-located 15N-NO3 source values) as indicative of greater nitrate use (rather than ammonium use, i.e. higher f ratios).

Community responses varied in relation to both regional circulation and the advance of the bloom. Iron-fertilised waters over the plateau developed dominance by very large diatoms (50–210 μm) with high BSi / POC ratios, high growth rates, and significant ammonium recycling (lower f ratios) as biomass built up. In contrast, downstream polar frontal waters with a similar or higher iron supply were dominated by smaller diatoms (20–50 μm) and exhibited greater ammonium recycling. Stations in a deep-water bathymetrically trapped recirculation south of the polar front with lower iron levels showed the large-cell dominance observed on the plateau but much less biomass. Comparison of these communities to surface water nitrate (and silicate) depletions as a proxy for export shows that the low-biomass recirculation feature had exported similar amounts of nitrogen to the high-biomass blooms over the plateau and north of the polar front. This suggests that early spring trophodynamic and export responses differed between regions with persistent low levels vs. intermittent high levels of iron fertilisation.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:plankton, Kerguelen Plateau, Southern Ocean, iron fertilisation
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Chemical oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Measurement and assessment of marine water quality and condition
UTAS Author:Trull, TW (Professor Thomas Trull)
UTAS Author:Davies, DM (Ms Diana Davies)
UTAS Author:Laurenceau-Cornec, EC (Mr Emmanuel Laurenceau)
ID Code:100440
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:26
Deposited By:CRC-Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems
Deposited On:2015-05-15
Last Modified:2017-11-01
Downloads:310 View Download Statistics

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