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Title: Shifts in the dominance between diatoms and cryptophytes during three late summers in the Bransfield Strait (Antarctic Peninsula)
Author: Mendes, Carlos Rafael Borges
Tavano, Virginia Maria
Leal, Miguel Costa
de Souza, Márcio Silva
Brotas, Vanda
Garcia, Carlos Alberto Eiras
Keywords: Antarctic Peninsula
Bransfield Strait
Phytoplankton succession
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Springer Verlag
Abstract: Recent global warming reduces surface water salinity around the Antarctic Peninsula as a result of the glacial meltwater runoff, which increases the occurrence and abundance of certain phytoplankton groups, such as cryptophytes. The dominance of this particular group over diatoms affects grazers, such as Antarctic krill, which preferentially feed on diatoms. Using three late summer data sets from the Bransfield Strait (2008–2010), we observed variations in the dominant phytoplankton groups determined by HPLC/CHEMTAX pigment analysis and confirmed by microscopy. Results indicate that the domi- nance of diatoms, particularly in 2008 and 2009, was associated with a deeper upper mixed layer (UML), higher salinity and warmer sea surface temperature. In contrast, cryptophytes, which were dominant in 2010, were associ- ated with a shallower UML, lower salinity and colder sea surface temperatures. The low diatom biomass observed in the summer of 2010 was associated with high nutrient concentration, particularly silicate, and low chlorophyll a (summer monthly average calculated from satellite images). The interannual variability here observed suggests a delayed seasonal succession cycle of phytoplankton in the summer of 2010 associated with a cold summer and a late ice retreat process in the region. This successional delay resulted in a notable decrease of primary producers’ biomass, which is likely to have impacted regional food web interactions. This study demonstrates the susceptibility of the Antarctic phytoplankton community structure to air temperature, which directly influences the timing of ice melting and consequently the magnitude of primary pro- duction and succession pattern of phytoplankton groups.
Peer review: yes
DOI: 10.1007/s00300-012-1282-4
ISSN: 0722-4060
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