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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 664:59-77 (2021)  -  DOI:

Size-fractionated surface phytoplankton in the Kara and Laptev Seas: environmental control and spatial variability

Andrey B. Demidov1,*, Irina N. Sukhanova1, Tatiana A. Belevich2, Mikhail V. Flint1, Vladimir I. Gagarin1, Valentina M. Sergeeva1, Elena V. Eremeeva1, Alexey V. Fedorov3

1Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, Russian Academy of Science, Moscow 117997, Russia
2Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow 119991, Russia
3Southern Branch of Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, Russian Academy of Science, 353470 Gelendjik, Russia
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Climate-induced variability of phytoplankton size structure influences primary productivity, marine food web dynamics, biosedimentation and exchange of CO2 between the atmosphere and ocean. Investigation of phytoplankton size structure in the Arctic Ocean is important due to rapid changes in its ecosystems related to increasing temperature and declining sea ice cover. We estimated the contribution of surface micro-, nano- and picophytoplankton to the total carbon biomass, chlorophyll a concentration and primary production in the Kara and Laptev Seas and investigated the relationships of these phytoplankton size groups with environmental factors which determine their spatial variability. Additionally, we compared chlorophyll specific carbon fixation rate, specific growth rate and carbon to chlorophyll ratios among different phytoplankton size groups. The investigation was carried out from August to September 2018. Generally, picophytoplankton was dominant in terms of chlorophyll a and primary production in the whole study area. The spatial variability of phytoplankton size classes was influenced by river discharge and relied mainly on water temperature, salinity and dissolved silicon concentration. Microphytoplankton prevailed across the river runoff region under conditions of low salinity and relatively high water temperature, while picophytoplankton was predominant under conditions of high salinity and low water temperature. Our study is the first to characterize size-fractionated phytoplankton abundance in the Kara and Laptev Seas, and provides a baseline for future assessment of the response of Kara and Laptev Sea ecosystems to climate-induced processes using phytoplankton size structure.

KEY WORDS: Phytoplankton size structure · Spatial variability · Environmental factors · Kara Sea · Laptev Sea

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Cite this article as: Demidov AB, Sukhanova IN, Belevich TA, Flint MV and others (2021) Size-fractionated surface phytoplankton in the Kara and Laptev Seas: environmental control and spatial variability. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 664:59-77.

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