MEPS 128:11-24 (1995)  -  doi:10.3354/meps128011

The NE subarctic Pacific in winter: I. Biological standing stocks

Boyd PW, Strom S, Whitney FA, Doherty S, Wen ME, Harrison PJ, Wong CS, Varela DE

Although an extensive biological time series data set of phytoplankton and zooplankton standing stocks has been collected over a 30 yr period in the NE subarctic Pacific at Ocean Station Papa (OSP), the majority of these data were obtained before recent advances in our understanding of the structure and functioning of the marine microbial food web. In addition, recent studies did not obtain data during the winter period. This paper provides the first contemporary biological description of the NE subarctic Pacific during winter. Data from 2 winter cruises in the vicinity of OSP indicate that the abundance and composition of the autotrophic and heterotrophic assemblage at these times are similar to those observed during late spring and summer by others. In contrast, winter mesozooplankton standing stocks are considerably less than observed in summer. These findings confirm the hypothesis that the relatively shallow winter mixed layer permits relatively high standing stocks of phytoplankton (20 mg C m-3) and consequently of microheterotrophs (7.1 to 13.1 mg C m-3) to subsist over the winter period. An assessment of autotrophic and heterotrophic biomass suggests that the requirements of the mesozooplankton (Stages IV to VI), microzooplankton and heterotrophic nanoflagellates may potentially be balanced by the standing stocks of microplankton, nanoplankton/picophytoplankton, and picoplankton, respectively. However, the carbon requirements of heterotrophic bacteria cannot be balanced without invoking slower turnover times for this pool relative to the turnover times for the dissolved organic carbon (DOC) pool.

Subarctic Pacific . Winter . Standing stocks . Autotrophs . Heterotrophs

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