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On the trophic fate of Phaeocystis pouchetii (Hariot): VI. Significance of Phaeocystis-derived mucus for vertical flux
Riebesell, U.; Reigstad, M.; Wassmann, P.; Noji, T.; Passow, U. (1995). On the trophic fate of Phaeocystis pouchetii (Hariot): VI. Significance of Phaeocystis-derived mucus for vertical flux. Neth. J. Sea Res. 33(2): 193-203
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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  • Riebesell, U.
  • Reigstad, M.
  • Wassmann, P.
  • Noji, T.
  • Passow, U.

    The development and decline of a phytoplankton spring bloom dominated by the prymnesiophyte Phaeocystis pouchetii were studied in Balsfjord, northern Norway between 30 March and 27 May 1992. At a fixed station, the concentration and composition of suspended particulate matter was monitored and compared to the particulate matter collected in sediment traps at six different depths. Direct sedimentation of phytoplankton contributed a minor fraction to particle flux and was confined to a few diatom genera. No evidence was found for pronounced aggregation of Phaeocystis colonies during bloom decline or direct sedimentation of either Phaeocystis colonies or single cells. Particle flux was dominated by faecal-pellet sedimentation during most of the study period, suggesting zooplankton grazing to be a main loss factor. Despite an abrupt decrease in faecal-pellet sedimentation after the decline of the bloom, particulate-carbon sedimentation rates remained high. High post-bloom sedimentation rates were characterized by elevated C/N and C/Chl a ratios of largely amorphous sedimented material. Post-bloom sedimentation coincided with a decrease in transparent exopolymeric particles (TEP) in the surface layer, suggesting that this change resulted from aggregation and sedimentation of carbon-rich exopolymeric material accumulated in the surface layer in the course of the bloom. While organic-carbon accumulation indicates the significance of disintegration of Phaeocystis colonies, post-bloom mucilage sedimentation could be a secondary pathway for the vertical flux of Phaeocystis-derived organic matter.

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