Plankton community composition, organic carbon and thorium-234 particle size distributions, and particle export in the Sargasso Sea
Abstract:Measurements of plankton community composition (eight planktonic groups), particle size-fractionated (10, 20, 53, 70, and 100-μm Nitex screens) distributions of organic carbon (OC) and 234Th, and particle export of OC and 234Th are reported over a seasonal cycle (2006–2007) from the Bermuda Atlantic Time-Series (BATS) site. Results indicate a convergence of the particle size distributions of OC and 234Th during the winter-spring bloom period (January–March, 2007). The observed convergence of these particle size distributions is directly correlated to the depth-integrated abundance of autotrophic pico-eukaryotes (r = 0.97, P < 0.05) and, to a lesser extent, Synechococcus (r = 0.85, P < 0.14). In addition, there are positive correlations between the sediment trap flux of OC and 234Th at 150 m and the depth-integrated abundance of pico-eukaryotes (r = 0.94, P < 0.06 for OC, and r = 0.98, P < 0.05 for 234Th) and Synechococcus (r = 0.95, P < 0.05 for OC, and r = 0.94, P < 0.06 for 234Th). An implication of these observations and recent modeling studies (Richardson and Jackson, 2007) is that, although small in size, pico-plankton may influence large particle export from the surface waters of the subtropical Atlantic.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: November 1, 2009
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