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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 377:63-77 (2009)  -  DOI:

Phytoplankton biomass and production in the southeastern Beaufort Sea in autumn 2002 and 2003

Sonia Brugel1,*, Christian Nozais2, Michel Poulin3, Jean-Éric Tremblay4, Lisa A. Miller5, Kyle G. Simpson6, Yves Gratton7, Serge Demers1

1Institut des sciences de la mer de Rimouski (ISMER), Université du Québec à Rimouski, 310 allée des ursulines, Rimouski, Québec G5L 3A1, Canada
2Département de biologie et centre d’études nordiques, Université du Québec à Rimouski, 300 allée des ursulines, Rimouski, Québec G5L 3A1, Canada
3Research Division, Canadian Museum of Nature, PO Box 3443, Station D, Ottawa, Ontario K1P 6P4, Canada
4Département de Biologie, Université Laval, Pavillon Alexandre-Vachon, Québec City, Québec G1K 7P4, Canada
5Centre for Ocean Climate Chemistry, Institute of Ocean Sciences, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, PO Box 6000,
9860 West Saanich Road, Sidney, British Columbia V8L 4B2, Canada
6Department of Biology, McGill University, 1205 avenue Dr Penfield, Montréal, Québec H3A 1B1, Canada
7Institut national de la recherche scientifique - Eau, Terre et Environnement, 490 de la Couronne, Québec City, Québec G1K 9A9, Canada

ABSTRACT: The phytoplankton community of the Mackenzie shelf and the Amundsen Gulf (southeastern Beaufort Sea) was characterized (e.g. chlorophyll a biomass, primary production and taxonomy) during autumn 2002 (23 September to 14 October) and 2003 (30 September to 14 November). Spatial differences were evident, particularly in early autumn. Total phytoplankton biomass and the contribution of large cells (>5 µm) to biomass were higher in the Amundsen Gulf than on the Mackenzie shelf. The community of autotrophic cells (>10 µm) was numerically dominated by diatoms in the Amundsen Gulf and by dinoflagellates on the Mackenzie shelf. The abundance of chlorophytes revealed the influence of the Mackenzie River on the Mackenzie shelf. Contrary to 2002, when all measurements were from early October, the phytoplankton community of the Amundsen Gulf in 2003 presented the characteristics of a late bloom, which presumably peaked in late September. In early autumn, however, primary production rates were similar for both years, averaging 75 mg C m–2 d–1. High primary production-to-biomass ratios and overall dominance of small cells (<5 µm) suggest that pelagic production in the southeastern Beaufort Sea was sustained by active recycling. During autumn 2003, a temporal decrease in phytoplankton biomass and primary production likely resulted from decreasing light availability. Overall, the autumnal primary production estimated in this study, from mid-September to the end of October, could increase the annual primary production previously estimated for the Beaufort Sea by 15%.

KEY WORDS: Phytoplankton · Size-fraction · Primary production · Arctic Ocean · Beaufort Sea · Amundsen Gulf · Mackenzie shelf

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Cite this article as: Brugel S, Nozais C, Poulin M, Tremblay JE and others (2009) Phytoplankton biomass and production in the southeastern Beaufort Sea in autumn 2002 and 2003. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 377:63-77.

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