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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 419:11-29 (2010)  -  DOI:

Succession and fate of the spring diatom bloom in Disko Bay, western Greenland

Michael Dünweber1,4, Rasmus Swalethorp1,4, Sanne Kjellerup1,4, Torkel Gissel Nielsen1,4,*, Kristine Engel Arendt2, Morten Hjorth1, Kajsa Tönnesson3, Eva Friis Møller1

1National Environmental Research Institute, Department of Marine Ecology, University of Aarhus, Frederiksborgvej 399,
4000 Roskilde, Denmark
2Greenland Climate Research Centre, Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, Kivioq 3, Po Box 570, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland
3Department of Marine Ecology—Göteborg, University of Gothenburg, Box 461, 405 30 Göteborg, Sweden
4Section for Oceanecology and Climate, National Institute of Aquatic Resources, Technical University of Denmark, Kavalergården 6, 2920 Charlottenlund, Denmark
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: Phytoplankton and copepod succession was investigated in Disko Bay, western Greenland from February to July 2008. The spring phytoplankton bloom developed immediately after the breakup of sea ice and reached a peak concentration of 24 mg chl a m–3 2 wk later. The bloom was analyzed during 3 phases: the developing, the decaying, and the post-bloom phases. Grazing impact by the copepod community was assessed by 4 methods; gut fluorescence, in situ faecal pellet production, and egg and faecal pellet production from bottle incubations. Calanus spp. dominated the mesozooplankton community. They were present from the initiation of the bloom but only had a small grazing impact on the phytoplankton. Consequently, there was a close coupling between the spring phytoplankton bloom and sedimentation of particulate organic carbon (POC). Out of 1836 ± 180 mg C m–2 d–1 leaving the upper 50 m, 60% was phytoplankton based carbon (PPC). The composition and quality of the sedimenting material changed throughout the bloom succession from PPC dominance in the initial phase with a POC/PON ratio close to 6.6 to a dominance of amorphous detritus with a higher POC/PON ratio (>10) in the post-bloom phase. The succession and fate of the phytoplankton spring bloom was controlled by nitrogen limitation and subsequent sedimentation, while grazing-mediated flux by the Calanus-dominated copepod community played a minor role in the termination of the spring bloom of Disko Bay.

KEY WORDS: Spring bloom · Calanus spp. · Grazing · Faecal pellets · Sedimentation · Arctic · Greenland

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Cite this article as: Dünweber M, Swalethorp R, Kjellerup S, Nielsen TG and others (2010) Succession and fate of the spring diatom bloom in Disko Bay, western Greenland. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 419:11-29.

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