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Free Content Plankton community composition, organic carbon and thorium-234 particle size distributions, and particle export in the Sargasso Sea

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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.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-11-01

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  • The Journal of Marine Research publishes peer-reviewed research articles covering a broad array of topics in physical, biological and chemical oceanography. Articles that deal with processes, as well as those that report significant observations, are welcome. In the area of biology, studies involving coupling between ecological and physical processes are preferred over those that report systematics. Authors benefit from thorough reviews of their manuscripts, where an attempt is made to maximize clarity. The time between submission and publication is kept to a minimum; there is no page charge.
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