ResearchPad - plankton https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Confocal Raman microscopy to identify bacteria in oral subgingival biofilm models]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7675 The study of oral disease progression, in relation to the accumulation of subgingival biofilm in gingivitis and periodontitis is limited, due to either the ability to monitor plaque in vitro. When compared, optical spectroscopic techniques offer advantages over traditional destructive or biofilm staining approaches, making it a suitable alternative for the analysis and continued development of three-dimensional structures. In this work, we have developed a confocal Raman spectroscopy analysis approach towards in vitro subgingival plaque models. The main objective of this study was to develop a method for differentiating multiple oral subgingival bacterial species in planktonic and biofilm conditions, using confocal Raman microscopy. Five common subgingival bacteria (Fusobacterium nucleatum, Streptococcus mutans, Veillonella dispar, Actinomyces naeslundii and Prevotella nigrescens) were used and differentiated using a 2-way orthogonal Partial Least Square with Discriminant Analysis (O2PLS-DA) for the collected spectral data. In addition to planktonic growth, mono-species biofilms cultured using the ‘Zürich Model’ were also analyzed. The developed method was successfully used to predict planktonic and mono-species biofilm species in a cross validation setup. The results show differences in the presence and absence of chemical bands within the Raman spectra. The O2PLS-DA model was able to successfully predict 100% of all tested planktonic samples and 90% of all mono-species biofilm samples. Using this approach we have shown that Confocal Raman microscopy can analyse and predict the identity of planktonic and mono-species biofilm species, thus enabling its potential as a technique to map oral multi-species biofilm models.

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<![CDATA[Lake-depth related pattern of genetic and morphological diatom diversity in boreal Lake Bolshoe Toko, Eastern Siberia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N3e538c26-938b-46fc-81d6-ffac689cc377

Large, old and heterogenous lake systems are valuable sources of biodiversity. The analysis of current spatial variability within such lakes increases our understanding of the origin and establishment of biodiversity. The environmental sensitivity and the high taxonomic richness of diatoms make them ideal organisms to investigate intra-lake variability. We investigated modern intra-lake diatom diversity in the large and old sub-arctic Lake Bolshoe Toko in Siberia. Our study uses diatom-specific metabarcoding, applying a short rbcL marker combined with next-generation sequencing and morphological identification to analyse the diatom diversity in modern sediment samples of 17 intra-lake sites. We analysed abundance-based compositional taxonomic diversity and generic phylogenetic diversity to investigate the relationship of diatom diversity changes with water depth. The two approaches show differences in taxonomic identification and alpha diversity, revealing a generally higher diversity with the genetic approach. With respect to beta diversity and ordination analyses, both approaches result in similar patterns. Water depth or related lake environmental conditions are significant factors influencing intra-lake diatom patterns, showing many significant negative correlations between alpha and beta diversity and water depth. Further, one near-shore and two lagoon lake sites characterized by low (0-10m) and medium (10-30m) water depth are unusual with unique taxonomic compositions. At deeper (>30m) water sites we identified strongest phylogenetic clustering in Aulacoseira, but generally much less in Staurosira, which supports that water depth is a strong environmental filter on the Aulacoseira communities. Our study demonstrates the utility of combining analyses of genetic and morphological as well as phylogenetic diversity to decipher compositional and generic phylogenetic patterns, which are relevant in understanding intra-lake heterogeneity as a source of biodiversity in the sub-arctic glacial Lake Bolshoe Toko.

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<![CDATA[Modern botanical analogue of endangered Yak (Bos mutus) dung from India: Plausible linkage with extant and extinct megaherbivores]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c897796d5eed0c4847d30d6

The study reports the micro- and macrobotanical remains on wild Yak dung, providing evidence for understanding the diet, habitat, and ecology of extant and extinct megaherbivores. Grasses are the primary diet of the yak as indicated by the abundance of grass pollen and phytoliths. Other associated non-arboreal and arboreal taxa namely, Cyperacaeae, Rosaceae, Chenopodiaceae, Artemisia, Prunus, and Rhododendron are also important dietary plants for their living. The observation of plant macrobotanical remains especially the vegetative part and seeds of the grasses and Cyperaceae is also in agreement with the palynodata. The documented micro- and macrobotanical data are indicative of both Alpine meadow and steppe vegetation under cold and dry climate which exactly reflected the current vegetation composition and climate in the region. The recovery of Botryococcus, Arcella, and diatom was observed in trace amounts in the palynoassemblage which would have been incorporated in the dung through the ingestion of water and are indicative of the presence of perennial water system in the region. Energy dispersive spectroscopy analysis marked that the element contained in dung samples has variation in relation to the summer and winter, which might be due to the availability of the food plants and vegetation. This generated multiproxy data serves as a strong supplementary data for modern pollen and vegetation relationships based on surface soil samples in the region. The recorded multiproxy data could also be useful to interpret the relationship between the coprolites of herbivorous fauna and the palaeodietary, the palaeoecology in the region, and to correlate with other mega herbivores in a global context.

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<![CDATA[Short-term fish predation destroys resilience of zooplankton communities and prevents recovery of phytoplankton control by zooplankton grazing]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c706772d5eed0c4847c7038

Planktivorous fish predation directly affects zooplankton biomass, community and size structure, and may indirectly induce a trophic cascade to phytoplankton. However, it is not clear how quickly the zooplankton community structure and the cascading effects on phytoplankton recover to the unaffected state (i.e. resilience) once short-term predation by fish stops. The resilience has implications for the ecological quality and restoration measures in aquatic ecosystems. To assess the short-term zooplankton resilience against fish predation, we conducted a mesocosm experiment consisting of 10 enclosures, 6 with fish and 4 without fish. Plankton communities from a natural lake were used to establish phytoplankton and zooplankton in the mesocosms. High biomasses (about 20 g wet mass m-3) of juvenile planktivorous fish (perch, Perca fluviatilis) were allowed to feed on zooplankton in fish enclosures for four days. Thereafter, we removed fish and observed the recovery of the zooplankton community and its cascading effect on trophic interactions in comparison with no fish enclosures for four weeks. Short-term fish predation impaired resilience in zooplankton community by modifying community composition, as large zooplankton, such as calanoids, decreased just after fish predation and did not re-appear afterwards, whereas small cladocerans and rotifers proliferated. Total zooplankton biomass increased quickly within two weeks after fish removal, and at the end even exceeded the biomass measured before fish addition. Despite high biomass, the dominance of small zooplankton released phytoplankton from grazer control in fish enclosures. Accordingly, the zooplankton community did not recover from the effect of fish predation, indicating low short-term resilience. In contrast, in no fish enclosures without predation disturbance, a high zooplankton:phytoplankton biomass ratio accompanied by low phytoplankton yield (Chlorophyll-a:Total phosphorus ratio) reflected phytoplankton control by zooplankton over the experimental period. Comprehensive views on short and long-term resilience of zooplankton communities are essential for restoration and management strategies of aquatic ecosystems to better predict responses to global warming, such as higher densities of planktivorous fish.

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<![CDATA[Microplastic-mediated transport of PCBs? A depuration study with Daphnia magna]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c75ac14d5eed0c484d0811f

The role of microplastic (MP) as a carrier of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) to aquatic organisms has been a topic of debate. However, the reverse POP transport can occur if relative contaminant concentrations are higher in the organism than in the microplastic. We evaluated the effect of microplastic on the PCB removal in planktonic animals by exposing the cladoceran Daphnia magna with a high body burden of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB 18, 40, 128 and 209) to a mixture of microplastic and algae; daphnids exposed to only algae served as the control. As the endpoints, we used PCB body burden, growth, fecundity and elemental composition (%C and %N) of the daphnids. In the daphnids fed with microplastic, PCB 209 was removed more efficiently, while there was no difference for any other congeners and ΣPCBs between the microplastic-exposed and control animals. Also, higher size-specific egg production in the animals carrying PCB and receiving food mixed with microplastics was observed. However, the effects of the microplastic exposure on fecundity were of low biological significance, because the PCB body burden and the microplastic exposure concentrations were greatly exceeding environmentally relevant concentrations.

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<![CDATA[The optical and biological properties of glacial meltwater in an Antarctic fjord]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c648cc0d5eed0c484c816dd

As the Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) region responds to a warmer climate, the impacts of glacial meltwater on the Southern Ocean are expected to intensify. The Antarctic Peninsula fjord system offers an ideal system to understand meltwater’s properties, providing an extreme in the meltwater’s spatial gradient from the glacio-marine boundary to the WAP continental shelf. Glacial meltwater discharge in Arctic and Greenland fjords is typically characterized as relatively lower temperature, fresh and with high turbidity. During two cruises conducted in December 2015 and April 2016 in Andvord Bay, we found a water lens of low salinity and low temperature along the glacio-marine interface. Oxygen isotope ratios identified this water lens as a mixture of glacial ice and deep water in Gerlache Strait suggesting this is glacial meltwater. Conventional hydrographic measurements were combined with optical properties to effectively quantify its spatial extent. Fine suspended sediments associated with meltwater (nanoparticles of ~ 5nm) had a significant impact on the underwater light field and enabled the detection of meltwater characteristics and spatial distribution. In this study, we illustrate that glacial meltwater in Andvord Bay alters the inherent and apparent optical properties of the water column, and develop statistical models to predict the meltwater content from hydrographic and optical measurements. The predicted meltwater fraction is in good agreement with in-situ values. These models offer a potential for remote sensing and high-resolution detection of glacial meltwater in Antarctic waters. Furthermore, the possible influence of meltwater on phytoplankton abundance in the surface is highlighted; a significant correlation is found between meltwater fraction and chlorophyll concentration.

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<![CDATA[Sensitivity of the Norwegian and Barents Sea Atlantis end-to-end ecosystem model to parameter perturbations of key species]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c673075d5eed0c484f37b80

Using end-to-end models for ecosystem-based management requires knowledge of the structure, uncertainty and sensitivity of the model. The Norwegian and Barents Seas (NoBa) Atlantis model was implemented for use in ‘what if’ scenarios, combining fisheries management strategies with the influences of climate change and climate variability. Before being used for this purpose, we wanted to evaluate and identify sensitive parameters and whether the species position in the foodweb influenced their sensitivity to parameter perturbation. Perturbing recruitment, mortality, prey consumption and growth by +/- 25% for nine biomass-dominating key species in the Barents Sea, while keeping the physical climate constant, proved the growth rate to be the most sensitive parameter in the model. Their trophic position in the ecosystem (lower trophic level, mid trophic level, top predators) influenced their responses to the perturbations. Top-predators, being generalists, responded mostly to perturbations on their individual life-history parameters. Mid-level species were the most vulnerable to perturbations, not only to their own individual life-history parameters, but also to perturbations on other trophic levels (higher or lower). Perturbations on the lower trophic levels had by far the strongest impact on the system, resulting in biomass changes for nearly all components in the system. Combined perturbations often resulted in non-additive model responses, including both dampened effects and increased impact of combined perturbations. Identifying sensitive parameters and species in end-to-end models will not only provide insights about the structure and functioning of the ecosystem in the model, but also highlight areas where more information and research would be useful—both for model parameterization, but also for constraining or quantifying model uncertainty.

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<![CDATA[Marine environmental DNA biomonitoring reveals seasonal patterns in biodiversity and identifies ecosystem responses to anomalous climatic events]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6730a5d5eed0c484f37e31

Marine ecosystems are changing rapidly as the oceans warm and become more acidic. The physical factors and the changes to ocean chemistry that they drive can all be measured with great precision. Changes in the biological composition of communities in different ocean regions are far more challenging to measure because most biological monitoring methods focus on a limited taxonomic or size range. Environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis has the potential to solve this problem in biological oceanography, as it is capable of identifying a huge phylogenetic range of organisms to species level. Here we develop and apply a novel multi-gene molecular toolkit to eDNA isolated from bulk plankton samples collected over a five-year period from a single site. This temporal scale and level of detail is unprecedented in eDNA studies. We identified consistent seasonal assemblages of zooplankton species, which demonstrates the ability of our toolkit to audit community composition. We were also able to detect clear departures from the regular seasonal patterns that occurred during an extreme marine heatwave. The integration of eDNA analyses with existing biotic and abiotic surveys delivers a powerful new long-term approach to monitoring the health of our world’s oceans in the context of a rapidly changing climate.

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<![CDATA[Historical observations of algal blooms in Mazatlan Bay, Sinaloa, Mexico (1979-2014)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5b529ad5eed0c4842bcc8c

A 35-year record of algal blooms in Mazatlan Bay is reviewed in order to register bloom-forming species and their seasonal presence, duration, degree of toxicity and environmental impact. A total of 202 algal blooms have been recorded and 25 dominant species identified: 6 toxic, 5 harmful and 14 harmless species. A harmless species, Myrionecta rubra, tended to decrease in frequency, while toxic species Gymnodinium catenatum and Margalefidinium polykrikoides showed a clear trend towards an increase in frequency. The number of discoloration days attributable to blooms was highly variable in each year, but a decadal analysis revealed a tendency to increase. The monthly distribution of algal blooms for decades showed two peaks of high frequency, the larger from February to May and the smaller from September to November. The duration of blooms varied from a few days to more than three months; the ephemeral blooms were the most frequent, but in the last decade, the frequency of the longer-lasting blooms has increased. An absence of blooms in 1983–4 and 1992–3 coincided with strong El Niño events, but this pattern was not consistent in subsequent El Niño years. Years with more or fewer discolorations days appear to be associated with cold or warm phases of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

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<![CDATA[Characterization of bacterioplankton communities from a hatchery recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) for juvenile sole (Solea senegalensis) production]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c64487ed5eed0c484c2e7cd

There is a growing consensus that future technological developments of aquaculture systems should account for the structure and function of microbial communities in the whole system and not only in fish guts. In this study, we aimed to investigate the composition of bacterioplankton communities of a hatchery recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) used for the production of Senegalese sole (Solea senegalensis) juveniles. To this end, we used a 16S rRNA gene based denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and pyrosequencing analyses to characterize the bacterioplankton communities of the RAS and its water supply. Overall, the most abundant orders were Alteromonadales, Rhodobacterales, Oceanospirillales, Vibrionales, Flavobacteriales, Lactobacillales, Thiotrichales, Burkholderiales and Bdellovibrionales. Although we found a clear distinction between the RAS and the water supply bacterioplankton communities, most of the abundant OTUs (≥50 sequences) in the hatchery RAS were also present in the water supply. These included OTUs related to Pseudoalteromonas genus and the Roseobacter clade, which are known to comprise bacterial members with activity against Vibrio fish pathogens. Overall, in contrast to previous findings for sole grow-out RAS, our results suggest that the water supply may influence the bacterioplankton community structure of sole hatchery RAS. Further studies are needed to investigate the effect of aquaculture practices on RAS bacterioplankton communities and identification of the key drivers of their structure and diversity.

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<![CDATA[Integrating ecosystem services considerations within a GIS-based habitat suitability index for oyster restoration]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c57e667d5eed0c484ef3039

Geospatial habitat suitability index (HSI) models have emerged as powerful tools that integrate pertinent spatial information to guide habitat restoration efforts, but have rarely accounted for spatial variation in ecosystem service provision. In this study, we utilized satellite-derived chlorophyll a concentrations for Pamlico Sound, North Carolina, USA in conjunction with data on water flow velocities and dissolved oxygen concentrations to identify potential restoration locations that would maximize the oyster reef-associated ecosystem service of water filtration. We integrated these novel factors associated with oyster water filtration ecosystem services within an existing, ‘Metapopulation Persistence’ focused GIS-based, HSI model containing biophysical (e.g., salinity, oyster larval connectivity) and logistical (e.g., distance to nearest restoration material stockpile site) factors to identify suitable locations for oyster restoration that maximize long-term persistence of restored oyster populations and water filtration ecosystem service provision. Furthermore, we compared the ‘Water Filtration’ optimized HSI with the HSI optimized for ‘Metapopulation Persistence,’ as well as a hybrid model that optimized for both water filtration and metapopulation persistence. Optimal restoration locations (i.e., locations corresponding to the top 1% of suitability scores) were identified that were consistent among the three HSI scenarios (i.e., “win-win” locations), as well as optimal locations unique to a given HSI scenario (i.e., “tradeoff” locations). The modeling framework utilized in this study can provide guidance to restoration practitioners to maximize the cost-efficiency and ecosystem services value of habitat restoration efforts. Furthermore, the functional relationships between oyster water filtration and chlorophyll a concentrations, water flow velocities, and dissolved oxygen applied in this study can guide field- and lab-testing of hypotheses related to optimal conditions for oyster reef restoration to maximize water quality enhancement benefits.

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<![CDATA[Predicting ecosystem components in the Gulf of Mexico and their responses to climate variability with a dynamic Bayesian network model]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c521879d5eed0c484798772

The Gulf of Mexico is an ecologically and economically important marine ecosystem that is affected by a variety of natural and anthropogenic pressures. These complex and interacting pressures, together with the dynamic environment of the Gulf, present challenges for the effective management of its resources. The recent adoption of Bayesian networks to ecology allows for the discovery and quantification of complex interactions from data after making only a few assumptions about observations of the system. In this study, we apply Bayesian network models, with different levels of structural complexity and a varying number of hidden variables to account for uncertainty when modeling ecosystem dynamics. From these models, we predict focal ecosystem components within the Gulf of Mexico. The predictive ability of the models varied with their structure. The model that performed best was parameterized through data-driven learning techniques and accounted for multiple ecosystem components’ associations and their interactions with human and natural pressures over time. Then, we altered sea surface temperature in the best performing model to explore the response of different ecosystem components to increased temperature. The magnitude and even direction of predicted responses varied by ecosystem components due to heterogeneity in driving factors and their spatial overlap. Our findings suggest that due to varying components’ sensitivity to drivers, changes in temperature will potentially lead to trade-offs in terms of population productivity. We were able to discover meaningful interactions between ecosystem components and their environment and show how sensitive these relationships are to climate perturbations, which increases our understanding of the potential future response of the system to increasing temperature. Our findings demonstrate that accounting for additional sources of variation, by incorporating multiple interactions and pressures in the model layout, has the potential for gaining deeper insights into the structure and dynamics of ecosystems.

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<![CDATA[Upwelling modulation of functional traits of a dominant planktonic grazer during “warm-acid” El Niño 2015 in a year-round upwelling area of Humboldt Current]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c46653ed5eed0c484518309

Climate change is expected to exacerbate upwelling intensity and natural acidification in Eastern Boundaries Upwelling Systems (EBUS). Conducted between January-September 2015 in a nearshore site of the northern Humboldt Current System directly exposed to year-round upwelling episodes, this study was aimed at assessing the relationship between upwelling mediated pH-changes and functional traits of the numerically dominant planktonic copepod-grazer Acartia tonsa (Copepoda). Environmental temperature, salinity, oxygen, pH, alkalinity, chlorophyll-a (Chl), copepod adult size, egg production (EP), and egg size and growth were assessed through 28 random oceanographic surveys. Agglomerative clustering and multidimensional scaling identified three main di-similitude nodes within temporal variability of abiotic and biotic variables: A) “upwelling”, B) “non-upwelling”, and C) “warm-acid” conditions. Nodes A and B represented typical features within the upwelling phenology, characterized by the transition from low temperature, oxygen, pH and Chl during upwelling to higher levels during non-upwelling conditions. However, well-oxygenated, saline and “warm-acid” node C seemed to be atypical for local climatology, suggesting the occurrence of a low frequency oceanographic perturbation. Multivariate (LDA and ANCOVA) analyses revealed upwelling through temperature, oxygen and pH were the main factors affecting variations in adult size and EP, and highlighted growth rates were significantly lower under node C. Likely buffering upwelling pH-reductions, phytoplankton biomass maintained copepod reproduction despite prevailing low temperature, oxygen and pH levels in the upwelling setting. Helping to better explain why this species is among the most recurrent ones in these variable yet productive upwelling areas, current findings also provide opportune cues on plankton responses under warm-acid conditions, which are expected to occur in productive EBUS as a consequence of climate perturbations.

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<![CDATA[Nutritional intake of Aplanochytrium (Labyrinthulea, Stramenopiles) from living diatoms revealed by culture experiments suggesting the new prey–predator interactions in the grazing food web of the marine ecosystem]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3fa552d5eed0c484ca3048

Labyrinthuleans (Labyrinthulea, Stramenopiles) are recognized as decomposers in marine ecosystems but their nutrient sources are not fully understood. We conducted two-membered culture experiments with labyrinthuleans and diatoms to discover where labyrinthuleans obtain their nutrients from. The results showed that Aplanochytrium strains obtained nutrients by consuming living diatoms. Aplanochytrium cells did not release digestive enzymes into the medium, but adhered to diatom cells via the tip of their characteristic ectoplasmic net system to obtain nutrients from them. The chloroplast and cell contents of the diatoms shrank and were absorbed, and then the number of Aplanochytrium cells rapidly increased as multiple aplanospores were released. To estimate the effect of labyrinthulean organisms including Aplanochytrium on marine ecosystem, we explored the dataset generated by the Tara Oceans Project from a wide range of oceanic regions. The average proportion of all labyrinthulean sequences to diatom sequences at each station was about 10%, and labyrinthulids, oblongichytrids, and aplanochytrids were the major constituent genera, accounting for more than 80% of labyrinthuleans. Therefore, these groups are suggested to greatly affect the marine ecosystem. There were positive correlations between aplanochytrids and phototrophs, green algae, and diatoms. At many stations, relatively large proportions of aplanochytrid sequences were detected in the size fraction larger than their cell size. This implied that Aplanochytrium cells increased their particle size by adhering to each other and forming aggregates with diatoms that are captured by larger zooplankton in the environment, thereby bypassing the food web pathway via aplanochytrids to higher predators. The intake of nutrients from diatoms by aplanochytrids represents a newly recognized pathway in the grazing food chain in the marine ecosystem.

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<![CDATA[Seasonality modulates the predictive skills of diatom based salinity transfer functions]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5bfdb3a2d5eed0c4845cb072

The value of diatoms as bioindicators in contemporary and palaeolimnological studies through transfer function development has increased in the last decades. While such models represent a tremendous advance in (palaeo) ecology, they leave behind important sources of uncertainties that are often ignored. In the present study we tackle two of the most important sources of uncertainty in the development of diatom salinity inference models: the effect of secondary variables associated to seasonality and the comparison of conventional cross-validation methods with a validation based on independent datasets. Samples (diatoms and environmental variables) were taken in spring, summer and autumn in the freshwater and brackish ditches of the province of North Holland in 1993. Different locations of the same province were sampled again in 2008–2010 to validate the models. We found that the abundance of the dominant species significantly changed between the seasons, leading to inconsistent estimates of species optima and tolerances. A model covering intra-annual variability (all seasons combined) provides averages of species optima and tolerances, reduces the effect of secondary variables due to the seasonality effects, thus providing the strongest relationship between salinity and diatom species. In addition, the ¨all-season¨ model also reduces the edge effects usually found in all unimodal-based calibration methods. While based on cross-validation all four models seem to perform relatively well, a validation with an independent dataset emphasizes the importance of using models covering intra-annual variability to perform realistic reconstructions.

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<![CDATA[Phytoplankton Distribution in Relation to Environmental Drivers on the North West European Shelf Sea]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da36ab0ee8fa60b863ff

The edge of the North West European Shelf (NWES) is characterised by a steep continental slope and a northward flowing slope current. These topographic/hydrographic features separate oceanic water and shelf water masses hence potentially separate phytoplankton communities. The slope current may facilitate the advective transport of phytoplankton, with mixing at the shelf edge supporting nutrient supply and therefore phytoplankton production. On the west Scottish shelf in particular, little is known about the phytoplankton communities in and around the shelf break and adjacent waters. Hence, to improve our understanding of environmental drivers of phytoplankton communities, biological and environmental data were collected on seven cross-shelf transects across the Malin and Hebridean Shelves during autumn 2014. Density profiles indicated that shelf break and oceanic stations had a 100 m deep mixed surface layer while stations on the shelf were generally well mixed. Analysis of similarity and multidimensional scaling of phytoplankton counts revealed that phytoplankton communities on the shelf were significantly different to those found at the shelf break and at oceanic stations. Shelf stations were dominated by dinoflagellates, with diatoms contributing a maximum of 37% of cells. Shelf break and oceanic stations were also dinoflagellate dominated but displayed a lower species diversity. Significant difference between shelf and shelf break stations suggested that the continental slope limited cross shelf phytoplankton exchange. Northern and southern phytoplankton communities on the shelf were approximately 15% dissimilar while there was no latitudinal gradient for stations along the slope current, suggesting this current provided south to north connectivity. Fitting environmental data to phytoplankton ordination showed a significant relationship between phytoplankton community dissimilarities and nutrient concentrations and light availability on the shelf compared to shelf break and oceanic stations in the study area.

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<![CDATA[Elevated pCO2 enhances bacterioplankton removal of organic carbon]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db50ab0ee8fa60bdbd91

Factors that affect the removal of organic carbon by heterotrophic bacterioplankton can impact the rate and magnitude of organic carbon loss in the ocean through the conversion of a portion of consumed organic carbon to CO2. Through enhanced rates of consumption, surface bacterioplankton communities can also reduce the amount of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) available for export from the surface ocean. The present study investigated the direct effects of elevated pCO2 on bacterioplankton removal of several forms of DOC ranging from glucose to complex phytoplankton exudate and lysate, and naturally occurring DOC. Elevated pCO2 (1000–1500 ppm) enhanced both the rate and magnitude of organic carbon removal by bacterioplankton communities compared to low (pre-industrial and ambient) pCO2 (250 –~400 ppm). The increased removal was largely due to enhanced respiration, rather than enhanced production of bacterioplankton biomass. The results suggest that elevated pCO2 can increase DOC consumption and decrease bacterioplankton growth efficiency, ultimately decreasing the amount of DOC available for vertical export and increasing the production of CO2 in the surface ocean.

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<![CDATA[Effects of Whaling on the Structure of the Southern Ocean Food Web: Insights on the “Krill Surplus” from Ecosystem Modelling]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dac4ab0ee8fa60bb1e5b

The aim of this study was to examine the ecological plausibility of the “krill surplus” hypothesis and the effects of whaling on the Southern Ocean food web using mass-balance ecosystem modelling. The depletion trajectory and unexploited biomass of each rorqual population in the Antarctic was reconstructed using yearly catch records and a set of species-specific surplus production models. The resulting estimates of the unexploited biomass of Antarctic rorquals were used to construct an Ecopath model of the Southern Ocean food web existing in 1900. The rorqual depletion trajectory was then used in an Ecosim scenario to drive rorqual biomasses and examine the “krill surplus” phenomenon and whaling effects on the food web in the years 1900–2008. An additional suite of Ecosim scenarios reflecting several hypothetical trends in Southern Ocean primary productivity were employed to examine the effect of bottom-up forcing on the documented krill biomass trend. The output of the Ecosim scenarios indicated that while the “krill surplus” hypothesis is a plausible explanation of the biomass trends observed in some penguin and pinniped species in the mid-20th century, the excess krill biomass was most likely eliminated by a rapid decline in primary productivity in the years 1975–1995. Our findings suggest that changes in physical conditions in the Southern Ocean during this time period could have eliminated the ecological effects of rorqual depletion, although the mechanism responsible is currently unknown. Furthermore, a decline in iron bioavailability due to rorqual depletion may have contributed to the rapid decline in overall Southern Ocean productivity during the last quarter of the 20th century. The results of this study underscore the need for further research on historical changes in the roles of top-down and bottom-up forcing in structuring the Southern Ocean food web.

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<![CDATA[Ammonium Uptake by Phytoplankton Regulates Nitrification in the Sunlit Ocean]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da1bab0ee8fa60b7cc2d

Nitrification, the microbial oxidation of ammonium to nitrate, is a central part of the nitrogen cycle. In the ocean’s surface layer, the process alters the distribution of inorganic nitrogen species available to phytoplankton and produces nitrous oxide. A widely held idea among oceanographers is that nitrification is inhibited by light in the ocean. However, recent evidence that the primary organisms involved in nitrification, the ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA), are present and active throughout the surface ocean has challenged this idea. Here we show, through field experiments coupling molecular genetic and biogeochemical approaches, that competition for ammonium with phytoplankton is the strongest regulator of nitrification in the photic zone. During multiday experiments at high irradiance a single ecotype of AOA remained active in the presence of rapidly growing phytoplankton. Over the course of this three day experiment, variability in the intensity of competition with phytoplankton caused nitrification rates to decline from those typical of the lower photic zone (60 nmol L−1 d−1) to those in well-lit layers (<1 nmol L−1 d−1). During another set of experiments, nitrification rates exhibited a diel periodicity throughout much of the photic zone, with the highest rates occurring at night when competition with phytoplankton is lowest. Together, the results of our experiments indicate that nitrification rates in the photic zone are more strongly regulated by competition with phytoplankton for ammonium than they are by light itself. This finding advances our ability to model the impact of nitrification on estimates of new primary production, and emphasizes the need to more strongly consider the effects of organismal interactions on nutrient standing stocks and biogeochemical cycling in the surface of the ocean.

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<![CDATA[Unusual behaviour of phototrophic picoplankton in turbid waters]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db53ab0ee8fa60bdc9d6

Autotrophic picoplankton (APP) abundance and contribution to phytoplankton biomass was studied in Hungarian shallow lakes to test the effect of inorganic turbidity determining the size distribution of the phytoplankton. The studied lakes displayed wide turbidity (TSS: 4–2250 mg l-1) and phytoplankton biomass (chlorophyll a: 1–460 μg l-1) range, as well as APP abundance (0 and 100 million cells ml-1) and contribution (0–100%) to total phytoplankton biomass. Inorganic turbidity had a significant effect on the abundance and contribution of APP, resulting in higher values compared to other freshwater lakes with the same phytoplankton biomass. Our analysis has provided empirical evidence for a switching point (50 mg l-1 inorganic turbidity), above which turbidity is the key factor causing APP predominance regardless of phytoplankton biomass in shallow turbid lakes. Our results have shown that turbid shallow lakes are unique waters, where the formerly and widely accepted model (decreasing APP contribution with increasing phytoplankton biomass) is not applicable. We hypothesize that this unusual behaviour of APP in turbid waters is a result of either diminished underwater light intensity or a reduced grazing pressure due to high inorganic turbidity.

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