MEPS 304:91-100 (2005)  -  doi:10.3354/meps304091

Phytoplankton and bacterioplankton biomass, production and turnover in a semi-enclosed embayment with spring tide induced upwelling

Chung-Chi Chen1,*, Fuh-Kwo Shiah2, Hung-Jen Lee3, Kuo-Yuan Li4, Pei-Jie Meng3,Shui-Ji Kao2, Yu-Fang Tseng4, Chia-Lu Chung4

1Department of Life Science, National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei 11677, Taiwan
2Research Center for Environment Changes, Academia Sinica, NanKang, Taipei 115, Taiwan
3National Museum of Marine Biology & Aquarium, Pingtung 944, Taiwan
4Institute of Oceanography, National Taiwan University, Taipei 10617, Taiwan

ABSTRACT: We examined the short time scale (i.e. hours to days) responses of phytoplankton and heterotrophic bacteria to a spring tide-driven upwelling, which is different from classical wind-driven systems, in southern Taiwan in a semi-enclosed embayment. Results showed that nitrate concentrations (NO3, <0.15 to 10.2 µM) correlated negatively with temperature (ca. 16 to 26°C). Estimated NO3 flux upwelled from >70 m was ~60 mmol N m–2 h–1 with <1% of it utilized by phytoplankton. Chlorophyll a concentrations doubled from 0.07 to 0.16 µg l–1 in the 9 h after the upwelling to maximal concentrations of <0.30 µg l–1. Euphotic zone integrated primary production (IPP, ca. 118 to 389 mgC m–2 d–1), and algal turnover rate (Pμ, ca. 0.27 to 0.76d–1) responded to the upwelling ~5 h earlier than chlorophyll. The observed uncoupling between upwelled nutrients and the low chlorophyll phenomenon might be due to quick tidal mixing and shorter residence time of the water mass (<1 d) within the bay, in comparison to the algal turnover time (1.3 to 3.7d). Euphotic zone integrated bacterial production (17to 28 mgC m–2 d–1) and bacterial turnover rate (0.6 to 0.8 d–1) were positively correlated with IPP, Pμ and depth integrated particulate organic carbon (ca. 540 to 6575 mgC m–2) concentrations, suggesting a high possibility of ‘bottom-up’ (organic substrate supply) control. This was confirmed by the results of 3 enrichment experiments showing that bacterial growth was C limited. Our study provides mechanistic information regarding the magnitude of the interaction between physical, chemical and biological processes, since the time scale adopted by this study encompasses the turnover times of auto- and heterotrophic plankton.

KEY WORDS: Dissolved inorganic nutrients · Chlorophyll · Bacterioplankton · POC · C-limitation · Upwelling · Tidal cycle · Taiwan

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