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Free Content Distribution of Chlorophyll A and Phaeopigments in the Northwestern Gulf of Mexico: A Comparison between Fluorometric and High-Performance Liquid Chromatography Measurements

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A total of 65 water samples, collected at six stations on the continental margin of the northwestern Gulf of Mexico, were analyzed for chlorophyll a and phaeopigments using both high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and the standard fluorometric method. Except at the station closest inshore over the inner shelf, the fluorometric method underestimated chlorophyll a concentrations circa 30%. This agrees well with data reported by other researchers working in the subtropical Atlantic and Pacific. However, with close inshore stations in the Gulf of Mexico, the fluorometric method overestimated chlorophyll a because of high chlorophyll c concentrations. Such high concentrations of chlorophyll c, along with the accessory pigment fucoxanthin indicate that diatoms dominated the phytoplankton assemblage at this inner shelf station. The fluorometric method also overestimated phaeopigment levels at the outer shelf/slope stations, coincident with an increase in the chlorophyll b/a ratio. However, in contrast to oceanic environments previously studied, the contribution of picoultraplankton (i.e., prochlorophytes) to the total chlorophyll b on the continental shelf of the northwestern Gulf of Mexico appeared to be minimal, based on comparisons between filters having different pore sizes. Our findings support the use of HPLC as a routine technique for the analysis of plant pigments in both continental margin and open ocean systems.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1995-01-01

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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