MEPS 219:65-83 (2001)  -  doi:10.3354/meps219065

Phytoplankton size-structure, particulate and dissolved organic carbon production and oxygen fluxes through microbial communities in the NW Iberian coastal transition zone

Eva Teira*, Pablo Serret, Emilio Fernández

Facultad de Ciencias, Campus Lagoas-Marcosende, Universidad de Vigo, 36200 Vigo, Spain

ABSTRACT: Contrasting hydrographic regimes were studied in the NW Iberian coastal transition zone in order to gain understanding of the relationship between planktonic community structure, production and loss rates, by concurrently measuring size-fractionated phytoplankton biomass and carbon incorporation as well as dissolved organic carbon production and dark respiration by microbial communities. Sampling was carried out in August 1998 and October 1999 at a series of stations representing vertical stratification and coastal upwelling conditions in summer, and vertical mixing and shelf-break poleward flow situations during the autumn. A close relationship was found between size-fractionated phytoplankton biomass and production, the relative allocation of total photosynthesis to dissolved and particulate organic carbon fractions, and the balance between production and respiration. Picoplankton-dominated communities showed net heterotrophic metabolism and were associated with relatively high rates of DOC production with respect to total carbon incorporation (>15%). In contrast, in coastal upwelling stations, where >2 µm cells dominated, less than 10% of total fixed carbon flowed to DOC, and the net metabolism of the microbial plankton community was autotrophic.

KEY WORDS: Phytoplankton size-structure · Primary production · DOC production · Respiration · NW Iberian coastal transition zone

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