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Factors structuring the phytoplankton community in the upwelling site off El Loa River in northern Chile
Herrera, L.; Escribano, R. (2006). Factors structuring the phytoplankton community in the upwelling site off El Loa River in northern Chile. J. Mar. Syst. 61(1-2): 13-38. hdl.handle.net/10.1016/j.jmarsys.2005.11.010
In: Journal of Marine Systems. Elsevier: Tokyo; Oxford; New York; Amsterdam. ISSN 0924-7963, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors | Dataset 

Keyword
    Marine
Author keywords
    Community structure; Humboldt Current; Phytoplankton species; Northern Chile; Coastal upwelling

Authors  Top | Dataset 
  • Herrera, L.
  • Escribano, R.

Abstract
    Understanding processes affecting the structure of the autotrophic community in marine ecosystems is relevant because species-dependent characters may affect productivity and carbon fluxes of the ocean. In this work, we studied the influence of oceanographic variability on phytoplankton species composition at a coastal upwelling site off northern Chile. Four seasonal cruises carried out during 2003 off El Loa River (21°S) showed that upwelling occurs year-round supporting a large number of diatoms, dinoflagellates, naked nanoflagellates, and silicoflagellates. The analysis of species composition showed that changes in the structure of the autotrophic community are expressed both in abundance and in differences in species assemblages. These changes occurred not only over the seasonal scale but also over the spatial pattern of distribution, and they correlated well to temporal variability of upwelling and spatial variation of upwelling conditions over the cross-shelf axis. A K-means clustering and principal component analyses showed that species assemblages can be represented by few dominant species strongly coupled to alternate upwelling vs. non-upwelling conditions. Both conditions are well defined, and mostly explained by changes in depth of the upper boundary of the oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) (a prominent feature in northern Chile), surface temperature and water column stratification. Abundance of dominant phytoplankton species were strongly correlated to both OMZ depth and water column stratification. Processes through which OMZ depth might influence species abundance and composition are unknown, although they may relate to changes in redox conditions which affect the nutrient field. Another explanation may relate to changes in grazing pressure derived from the effect of low oxygen water on zooplankton vertical distribution.

Dataset
  • Phytoplankton Universidad Arturo Prat, more

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