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Abundance of nanoplankton-size chlorophyll-containing particles caused by diatom disruption in surface waters of the southern ocean (Antarctic Peninsula region)
Gieskes, W.W.C.; Elbrächter, M. (1986). Abundance of nanoplankton-size chlorophyll-containing particles caused by diatom disruption in surface waters of the southern ocean (Antarctic Peninsula region). Neth. J. Sea Res. 20(2-3): 291-303
In: Netherlands Journal of Sea Research. Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ): Groningen; Den Burg. ISSN 0077-7579, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Gieskes, W.W.C.
  • Elbrächter, M.

Abstract
    In samples taken during a cruise to the western Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean (Antarctic Peninsula region), between 10 and 80% of chlorophyll a containing particles were smaller than 8 µm. At stations in the northern part of the survey area the percentage was highest; in the south (southern Bransfield Straits and northern Weddell Sea) most chlorophyll a was found in larger diatoms. Microscopic observations revealed that in many samples more than 50% of the nanoplankton-size chlorophyll-containing particles were free-floating chloroplasts; the relative abundance of 19'-hexanoyloxyfucoxanthin in acetone extracts of suspended matter indicates that the nanophytoplankton itself consisted mostly of Prymnesiophyceae (Haptophyceae). Experiments showed that diatom chloroplasts remain fluorescent for several days after cell disruption at the low temperature prevailing in the Southern Ocean. Evidence is presented that causes of algal cell disruption in the field include mechanical effects on cells during storms and during grazing by krill. Spatial variability in the proportion of chlorophyll a not associated with viable phytoplankton cells may impede the use of chlorophyll a as a measure of biomass and of primary productivity during large-scale surveys.

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