Biological response to iron fertilization in the eastern equatorial Pacific (IronEx II). I. Microplankton community abundances and biomass

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Landry, M. R., Ondrusek, M. E., Tanner, S. J., Brown, S. L., Constantinou, J., Bidigare, R. R., … Fitzwater, S. (2000). Biological response to iron fertilization in the eastern equatorial Pacific (IronEx II). I. Microplankton community abundances and biomass. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 201, 27-42.
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TitleBiological response to iron fertilization in the eastern equatorial Pacific (IronEx II). I. Microplankton community abundances and biomass
AuthorsM. Landry, M. Ondrusek, S. Tanner, S. Brown, J. Constantinou, R. Bidigare, K. Coale, S. Fitzwater
AbstractDuring the IronEx II experiment in the eastern equatorial Pacific (May to June 1995), the response of the microplankton community to mesoscale iron fertilization was followed using a combination of marker-pigment, microscopical and flow cytometric techniques. Phytoplankton standing stock bloomed dramatically over a period of 6 d following 3 iron additions of 2 and 1 nM, respectively. Carbon biomass in the patch increased by a factor of 4, chlorophyll a by about a factor of 16 and diatoms by > 70-fold relative to contemporaneous levels in the ambient community. The bloom then plateaued sharply and remained at a more or less constant level for 4 d, despite the addition of more iron (1 nM) and physiological indices (low C:chl a ratio and elevated photochemical quantum efficiency) suggesting that the cells were healthy and growing rapidly. Relatively large pennate diatoms (Nitzschia spp., median length 20 to 24 μm) dominated the patch bloom, with smaller pennate species and centric diatoms declining in relative importance. Heterotrophic bacteria increased at a slow rate (0.08 d -1) for > 10 d during the experiment, as did heterotrophic nanoflagellates. There were also indications of enhanced cell size, cellular pigment content and possibly growth rates of small phytoplankton. Nonetheless, little difference was observed between the ambient community and the peak patch bloom with respect to the size composition of auto- and heterotrophic populations < 10 μm in cell size. The relative constancy of the smaller size fractions, the sharp curtailment of net growth of the bloom after 6 d, and > 3-fold increase in large heterotrophic dinoflagellates and ciliates suggest that protistan grazers may have played an active role in controlling the phytoplankton response to increased iron availability.
JournalMarine Ecology Progress Series
Date2000
Volume201
Start page27
End page42
ISSN0171-8630
Subjectsbacterial growth, biomass, carbon, cell growth, chlorophyll, diatom, fertilization, heterotrophic bacterium, microplankton, Pacific Ocean, phytoplankton, plant growth, abundance, algal bloom, fertilizer application, growth response, iron, Nitzschia

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