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Aquatic Microbial Ecology

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AME 57:43-55 (2009)  -  DOI:

Annual DMSP contribution to S and C fluxes through phytoplankton and bacterioplankton in a NW Mediterranean coastal site

Rafel Simó1,*, Maria Vila-Costa1,2,3, Laura Alonso-Sáez1,4, Clara Cardelús1, Òscar Guadayol1, Evaristo Vázquez-Domínguez1, Josep M. Gasol1

1Department of Marine Biology and Oceanography, Institut de Ciències del Mar, CSIC, Pg Marítim de la Barceloneta 37–49, 08003 Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain
2Present address: Department of Marine Sciences, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602, USA
3Present address: Group of Limnology, Department of Continental Ecology, Centre d’Estudis Avançats de Blanes, CSIC, c. d’accés a la Cala St. Frances 14, 17300 Blanes, Catalunya, Spain
4Present address: Limnology/Department of Ecology and Evolution, Uppsala University, 75123 Uppsala, Sweden

ABSTRACT: The contribution of dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) to the fluxes of carbon and sulfur through phytoplankton and bacterioplankton was investigated throughout an annual cycle in the Blanes Bay Microbial Observatory (coastal NW Mediterranean). DMSP accounted for 0.3 to 7% of biovolume-estimated phytoplankton carbon and 4 to 93% of calculated phytoplankton sulfur, with higher contributions in ‘summer’ (highly irradiated, oligotrophic waters, May to September) and lower in ‘winter’ (October to April). DMSP biosynthesis rates accounted for 0.8 to 7% of carbon fixation and 11 to 88% of sulfur assimilation through primary production, with slightly higher shares in summer. Upon release from the algal cells, DMSP supplied 0.5 to 6% of the total carbon demand of heterotrophic bacteria, and 3 to 100% of the sulfur demand over the year. Uncertainties associated with these calculations are due to a scarce knowledge of C:S ratios in marine bacteria. Bacterial DMSP-sulfur assimilation (measured with 35S-DMSP) was positively correlated with bacterial heterotrophic production rates (measured with 3H-leucine). In summer waters, characterized by higher ratios of particulate DMSP to chlorophyll a (DMSP p:chl a), DMSP-sulfur assimilation by bacteria was higher and contributed a larger share of the bacterial sulfur demand. We propose that the DMSP:chl a ratio is a good indicator of the relative role of DMSP in the carbon and sulfur fluxes through the first levels of the planktonic food web.

KEY WORDS: Dimethylsulfide · Dimethylsulfoniopropionate · Sulfur · Food web · Primary production · Bacterial production · Respiration · Mediterranean

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Cite this article as: Simó R, Vila-Costa M, Alonso-Sáez L, Cardelús C, Guadayol Ò, Vázquez-Domínguez E, Gasol JM (2009) Annual DMSP contribution to S and C fluxes through phytoplankton and bacterioplankton in a NW Mediterranean coastal site. Aquat Microb Ecol 57:43-55.

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