MEPS 298:59-67 (2005)  -  doi:10.3354/meps298059

Seasonal changes in the abundance and composition of picophytoplankton in relation to the occurrence of ‘Kyucho’ and bottom intrusion in Uchiumi Bay, Japan

Toshiya Katano1,3,*, Atsushi Kaneda1, Hidetaka Takeoka1, Shin-ichi Nakano1,2

1Center for Marine Environmental Studies, Ehime University, Bunkyo-cho 3, Matsuyama, Ehime, 790-8577, Japan
2Faculty of Agriculture, Ehime University, Tarumi 3-5-7, Matsuyama, Ehime, 790-8566, Japan
3Present address: Department of Life Science/Environmental Science, Hanyang University, Seoul, 133-791, Korea

ABSTRACT: Uchiumi Bay experiences intermittent physical events of ‘Kyucho’ and bottom intrusion. A Kyucho is an intrusion of warm surface water from the Kuroshio in the Pacific Ocean. Bottom intrusion, which contains a large amount of nitrates, phosphates, and silicates, slips through just above the continental shelf. We investigated seasonal changes in the abundance of Prochlorococcus, Synechococcus, and eukaryotic picophytoplankton while monitoring Kyucho and bottom intrusion from March to October 2002. Kyucho and bottom intrusion frequently occurred from June to September. Relatively high concentrations of nitrate + nitrite (>0.8 µmol N l–1) and phosphate (>0.1 µmol P l–1) were found when bottom intrusion occurred. The cell densities of Prochlorococcus were relatively high (>1 × 104 cells ml–1) when Kyucho occurred. Those of Synechococcus were high (2 to 30 × 104 cells ml–1) during the period of thermal stratification except in July, when bottom intrusion occurred. The cell densities of eukaryotic picophytoplankton were high (2 to 8 × 104 cells ml–1) in May and July. To examine the effects on picophytoplankton growth of the nutrients supplied by bottom intrusion, we conducted nutrient-enrichment experiments. The growth rates of Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus were not stimulated by the addition of any kinds of nutrients. The growth rates of Prochlorococcus were negative in most cases. In July, the growth rate of eukaryotic picophytoplankton was stimulated by nitrate and phosphate additions. Thus, Prochlorococcus detected in Uchiumi Bay might have been transported by Kyucho from the Pacific Ocean and could therefore not grow vigorously. Synechococcus may have been flushed out by bottom intrusion, and its growth was not limited by the nutrient concentrations. Eukaryotic picophytoplankton was abundant in spring, and its growth might have been limited by the nutrient concentrations in some cases. These results suggest that Kyucho and bottom intrusion have different effects on the abundance and growth rate of the 3 picophytoplankton groups.

KEY WORDS: Bottom intrusion · Kyucho · Prochlorococcus · Synechococcus · Eukaryotic picophytoplankton · Growth response · Nutrient supply

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