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Relevance of bacterioplankton abundance and production in the oligotrophic equatorial Indian Ocean
Fernandes, V.; Rodrigues, V.; Ramaiah, N.; Paul, J.T. (2008). Relevance of bacterioplankton abundance and production in the oligotrophic equatorial Indian Ocean. Aquat. Ecol. 42(4): 511-519. dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10452-007-9142-y
In: Aquatic Ecology. Springer: Berlin. ISSN 1386-2588, more
Peer reviewed article

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Keywords
    Abundance; Chlorophyll; Euphotic zone; Growth rate; Nannoplankton; Primary production; ISW, Indian Ocean [Marine Regions]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Fernandes, V.
  • Rodrigues, V.
  • Ramaiah, N.
  • Paul, J.T.

Abstract
    Bacterioplankton abundance and production, chlorophyll a (Chl a) concentrations and primary production (PP) were measured from the equatorial Indian Ocean (EIO) during northeast (NEM), southwest (SWM) and spring intermonsoon (SpIM) seasons from 1°N to 5°S along 83°E. The average bacterial abundance was 0.52 ± 0.29,0.62 ± 0.33 and 0.46 ± 0.19 (× 108 cells l−1), respectively during NEM, SWM and SpIM in the top 100 m. In the deep waters (200 m and below), the bacterial counts averaged ∼0.35 ± 0.14 × 108 cells l−1 in SWM and 0.39 ± 0.16 × 108 cells l−1 in SpIM. The 0–120 m column integrated bacterial production (BP) ranged from 19 to 115 and from 10 to 51 mg C m−2 d−1 during NEM and SWM, respectively. Compared with many open ocean locations, bacterial abundance and production in this region are lower. The bacterial carbon production, however, is notably higher than that of phytoplankton PP (BP:PP ratio 102% in SWM and 188% in NEM). With perpetually low PP (NEM: 20, SWM: 18 and SpIM: 12 mg C m−2 d−1) and Chl a concentration (NEM: 16.5, SWM: 15.0 and SpIM: 20.9 mg m−2), the observed bacterial abundance and production are pivotal in the trophodynamics of the EIO. Efficient assimilation and mineralization of available organics by bacteria in the euphotic zone might serve a dual role in the ultra-oligotrophic regions including EIO. Thus, bacteria probably sustain microheterotrophs (micro- and meso-zooplankton) through microbial loop. Further, rapid mineralization by bacteria will make essential nutrients available to autotrophs.

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