MEPS 359:69-87 (2008)  -  DOI:

Phytoplankton class determination by microscopic and HPLC-CHEMTAX analyses in the southern Baltic Sea

Elif Eker-Develi*, Jean-François Berthon, Dirk van der Linde

Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, Global Environment Monitoring Unit, TP 272, 21027, Ispra (VA), Italy

ABSTRACT: The contribution of phytoplankton groups to total chlorophyll a (chl a) was derived using CHEMTAX from pigment measurements by HPLC and compared with the carbon (C) biomass estimations obtained from microscopy in the southern Baltic Sea in April 2005. Five different matrices of pigment:chl a input ratios, derived from the literature, were tested. Successive runs of CHEMTAX showed peridinin:chl a for dinoflagellates and fucoxanthin:chl a for diatoms to converge at 0.452 ± 0.02 (mean ± SD) and 0.489 ± 0.03, respectively, with initial ratios varying by a factor of 2 to 3 across matrices. The 2 techniques were in relatively good agreement for the dominant phytoplankton groups. Peridinin, diadinoxanthin, chlorophylls c1 and c2 (here grouped together as chl c1+c2), fucoxanthin and alloxanthin were the principal accessory pigments; dinoflagellates, diatoms and cryptophytes were the groups forming the majority of the C biomass. Diadinoxanthin and chl c1+c2 were mainly associated with the dominant dinoflagellates rather than with other phytoplankton classes. Excluding cyanophytes, the correlation between carbon biomass of other minor phytoplankton groups and their chl a was either poor or not significant due to uncertainties in either microscopic counts or CHEMTAX classification. There was a good correlation between carbon biomass of phytoplankton and chl a. The estimated C:chl a ratio of total phytoplankton varied between 8 and 40 (in average 20 ± 7), with a higher value for dinoflagellates (30 ± 17) than for diatoms (9 ± 7). Fucoxanthin-containing small flagellates might have led to the overestimation of the diatom contribution by CHEMTAX at a few stations.

KEY WORDS: CHEMTAX · Pigments · Phytoplankton carbon · C:chl a · Baltic Sea

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Cite this article as: Eker-Develi E, Berthon JF, van der Linde D (2008) Phytoplankton class determination by microscopic and HPLC-CHEMTAX analyses in the southern Baltic Sea. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 359:69-87.

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