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Spatial and temporal variability of the phytoplankton community structure in the North Water Polynya, investigated using pigment biomarkers

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Phytoplankton taxonomic pigments were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) during a 3-month survey (April–June 1998) in the North Water (NOW) Polynya (Canadian Arctic) to investigate changes in phytoplankton biomass and composition and the physical–chemical factors that influence these changes. A phytoplankton bloom with high chlorophyll a (Chl a) concentrations (up to 17.45 mg·m–3 at 15 m) occurred in mid-May along the Greenland coast in the southeastern part of the NOW Polynya. The initiation of the phytoplankton bloom was linked to shallow mixed-layer depths. The contribution of the different phytoplankton groups to Chl a inferred using a factorization program (CHEMTAX) indicated that the bloom was diatom-dominated (maximum 94% diatoms). The phytoplankton community structure was influenced by the water mass characteristics and the surface circulation pattern. Autotrophic flagellates dominated in April and May along the Canadian coast, where cold Arctic waters with relatively deep mixed layers were found. In contrast, diatoms dominated in May along the Greenland coast in warmer water masses of Atlantic origin and during June in the whole polynya, except in the southernmost part.

Nous avons mesuré par chromatographie liquide à haute performance (HPLC) les pigments taxonomiques du phytoplancton durant un inventaire de 3 mois (avril–juin 1998) dans la polynie des eaux du nord (NOW) de l'Arctique canadien, afin d'étudier les changements de biomasse et de composition du phytoplancton et les facteurs physico-chimiques qui influencent ces changements. À la mi-mai, il s'est produit une prolifération du phytoplancton avec de fortes concentrations de chlorophylle a (Chl a) (pouvant atteindre 17,45 mg·m–3 à 15 m) le long de la côte du Groenland, dans la partie sud-est de la polynie NOW. Le début de la prolifération du phytoplancton est associé à des faibles profondeurs de la couche de mélange. La détermination de la contribution des différents groupes du phytoplancton à chl a au moyen d'un logiciel de factorisation (CHEMTAX) indique que la prolifération est dominée par les diatomées (un maximum de 94 % de diatomées). La structure de la communauté phytoplanctonique est influencée par les caractéristiques de la masse d'eau et par le pattern de circulation d'eau en surface. Les flagellés autotrophes dominent en avril et en mai le long de la côte canadienne, où il y a des eaux froides arctiques avec des couches de mélange relativement profondes. En revanche, les diatomées prédominent en mai le long de la côte du Groenland dans des masses d'eau plus chaudes provenant de l'Atlantique, ainsi qu'en juin dans toute la polynie, sauf dans la partie la plus australe.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2004

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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