Publications

Export 6 results:
Sort by: Author Title Type [ Year  (Desc)]
2018
Stukel, MR, Decima M, Landry MR, Selph KE.  2018.  Nitrogen and Isotope Flows Through the Costa Rica Dome Upwelling Ecosystem: The Crucial Mesozooplankton Role in Export Flux. Global Biogeochemical Cycles. 32:1815-1832.   10.1029/2018gb005968   AbstractWebsite

The Costa Rica Dome (CRD) is an open-ocean upwelling ecosystem, with high biomasses of picophytoplankton (especially Synechococcus), mesozooplankton, and higher trophic levels. To elucidate the food web pathways supporting the trophic structure and carbon export in this unique ecosystem, we used Markov Chain Monte Carlo techniques to assimilate data from four independent realizations of N-15 and planktonic rate measurements from the CRD into steady state, multicompartment ecosystem box models (linear inverse models). Model results present well-constrained snapshots of ecosystem nitrogen and stable isotope fluxes. New production is supported by upwelled nitrate, not nitrogen fixation. Protistivory (rather than herbivory) was the most important feeding mode for mesozooplankton, which rely heavily on microzooplankton prey. Mesozooplankton play a central role in vertical nitrogen export, primarily through active transport of nitrogen consumed in the surface layer and excreted at depth, which comprised an average 36-46% of total export. Detritus or aggregate feeding is also an important mode of resource acquisition by mesozooplankton and regeneration of nutrients within the euphotic zone. As a consequence, the ratio of passively sinking particle export to phytoplankton production is very low in the CRD. Comparisons to similar models constrained with data from the nearby equatorial Pacific demonstrate that the dominant role of vertical migrators to the biological pump is a unique feature of the CRD. However, both regions show efficient nitrogen transfer from mesozooplankton to higher trophic levels (as expected for regions with large fish, cetacean, and seabird populations) despite the dominance of protists as major grazers of phytoplankton. Plain Language Summary Most of the world's oceanic regions can be divided into (1) low-nutrient areas where small algae dominate and crustaceans, fish, and whales are scarce or (2) productive areas where large algae dominate, crustaceans and higher trophic levels are abundant, and substantial carbon is transported to depth as part of the biological pump. The Costa Rica Dome (CRD) is a unique natural laboratory for investigating the relationships between algae, zooplankton, and marine biogeochemistry because it is a productive region dominated by cyanobacteria (small algae) that nevertheless sustains large populations of crustaceans, fish, and whales. We used a novel data assimilation tool to constrain a food web model using at-sea rate measurements of plankton activity and nitrogen stable isotopes. We found that protists are an important intermediate trophic level linking cyanobacteria and mesozooplankton. Efficient recycling by the zooplankton community facilitates nitrogen transfer to fish, whales, and seabirds. In the CRD, vertically migrating zooplankton (which feed in the surface during the night but descend to depth during the day to escape predators) play a particularly important role in transporting nitrogen (and carbon dioxide) from the surface to the deep ocean, where it can be removed from the atmosphere.

2017
Decima, M, Landry MR, Bradley CJ, Fogel ML.  2017.  Alanine delta(15) N trophic fractionation in heterotrophic protists. Limnology and Oceanography. 62:2308-2322.   10.1002/lno.10567   AbstractWebsite

We evaluated differences in the N-15 isotopic enrichment factors of trophic amino acids (AA) for protistan (microzooplankton) and metazoan (mesozooplankton) consumers, testing the hypothesis that delta N-15 of alanine (ala) increases in both consumer types, while glutamic acid (glu) enriches mainly in mesozooplankton. AA delta N-15 values were measured for dinoflagellate and ciliate grazers and their respective algal prey (Oxyrrhis marina/Dunaliella tertiolecta and Favella sp./Heterocapsa triquetra) in four two-stage chemostat experiments, including treatments with different nitrogen : phosphorous nutrient ratios and light/dark recycling conditions. Propagation of AA N-15 enrichment to a metazoan consumer was also assessed in two-and three-stage chemostat experiments simulating simple "classical" (Calanus pacificus and the diatom Thalassiosira weissflogii) and "multivorous" (C. pacificus, O. marina, and D. tertiolecta) food chains. We found small or negligible 15 N-enrichment of glu for both protistan grazers, while ala enrichment was consistently greater and similar to that in metazoan consumers. Ala and glu delta N-15 values were both highly elevated in C. pacificus relative to prey, and enrichment was higher with autotrophic diets. These laboratory results suggest that ala may be used as an alternate, accurate isotopic proxy for quantifying protistan contributions to trophic structure in aquatic systems.

2012
Linacre, L, Landry MR, Cajal-Medrano R, Lara-Lara JR, Hernandez-Ayon JM, Mourino-Perez RR, Garcia-Mendoza E, Bazan-Guzman C.  2012.  Temporal dynamics of carbon flow through the microbial plankton community in a coastal upwelling system off northern Baja California, Mexico. Marine Ecology-Progress Series. 461:31-46.   10.3354/meps09782   AbstractWebsite

We investigated the temporal dynamics of carbon flow through the microbial food web of a coastal upwelling system (ENSENADA station) off northern Baja California during 6 cruises (September 2007 to November 2008). Carbon biomass assessments for major autotrophic size groups (pico- to micro-sized cells) and their microzooplankton grazers were based on analyses using flow cytometry, HPLC pigments and epifluorescence microscopy. Taxon-specific phytoplankton growth and microzooplankton grazing rates were determined from 24 h in situ incubations in the euphotic zone using an abbreviated 3-treatment dilution technique. Carbon biomass and instantaneous growth and grazing rate determinations were used to estimate daily rates of taxon-specific production and losses due to microzooplankton grazing. Overall, microbial biomass showed a close balance between autotrophic and heterotrophic components, except during a period of very strong upwelling (April 2008), which favored large phytoplankters and high primary production. Throughout a wide range of environmental conditions, the community primary production (PP) attributed both to small (mostly picophytoplankton and prasinophytes) and large (mostly diatoms and autotrophic dinoflagellates) autotrophs was significantly grazed (78 +/- 9% of PP) by small (< 20 mu m) and large (> 20 mu m) ciliates and flagellates (including mixotrophic dinoflagellates), respectively, showing complementary temporal shifts in protistan grazer types that matched the dominant phytoplankton. While large diatoms were strongly consumed by large ciliates during the 2 most productive periods (September 2007 and April 2008), pico- and nano-sized phytoplankton were grazed most by nanoflagellates and small ciliates from November 2007 to January 2008. Consequently, biogenic carbon production in this ecosystem is transferred through a multivorous food web.

2011
Landry, MR, Selph KE, Taylor AG, Decima M, Balch WM, Bidigare RR.  2011.  Phytoplankton growth, grazing and production balances in the HNLC equatorial Pacific. Deep-Sea Research Part Ii-Topical Studies in Oceanography. 58:524-535.   10.1016/j.dsr2.2010.08.011   AbstractWebsite

We investigate the hypothesis that phytoplankton growth and grazing processes are strongly balanced in high-nutrient low-chlorophyll (HNLC) waters of the equatorial Pacific using euphotic-zone estimates of rates and biomass determined for 30 stations during EB04 (December 2004) and EB05 (September 2005). As predicted by the balance hypothesis, depth-averaged instantaneous rates of phytoplankton growth and grazing losses to micro- and mesozooplankton show a net growth difference of zero. Contemporaneous estimates of phytoplankton biomass and specific rates from flow cytometry, microscopy and taxon-specific accessory pigments allow determination of constrained production-consumption trophic balances for the phytoplankton community as a whole and for major component populations. The magnitude of growth-based production (867 mg C m(-2) d(-1)) is consistent with measured (14)C primary production, given methodological differences. 70% of production is utilized by protistan herbivores within the microbial community; 30% is consumed by mesozooplankton. Among picophytoplankton (Prochlorococcus, Synechococcus and small eukaryotes), representing 40% of community biomass and 27% of daily biomass growth, microzooplankton consume almost all production. Among groups of larger eukaryote taxa, including diatoms but dominated by dinoflagellate biomass, micro-grazers consume 51-62% of production, with the remainder available to mesozooplankton. Some leakage from the balance is expected as export of sinking phytoplankton cells and aggregates, but is constrained to no more than a few percent of daily production from alternate determinations of mesozooplankton grazing. The demonstrated balance of growth and grazing processes in the equatorial Pacific is inconsistent with recent claims from inverse models that a large flux associated with ungrazed picophytoplankton production dominates euphotic zone carbon export in the region. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

2010
Linacre, LP, Landry MR, Lara-Lara JR, Hernandez-Ayon JM, Bazan-Guzman C.  2010.  Picoplankton dynamics during contrasting seasonal oceanographic conditions at a coastal upwelling station off Northern Baja California, Mexico. Journal of Plankton Research. 32:539-557.   10.1093/plankt/fbp148   AbstractWebsite

The ecological dynamics of picoplankton were investigated at a coastal upwelling system of northern Baja California during six cruises (September 2007-November 2008). Populations of Prochlorococcus, Synechococcus, PicoEukaryotes and heterotrophic bacteria were assessed by flow cytometry (FCM). On each sampling date, we used an abbreviated three-treatment dilution technique and (14)C-uptake experiments to determine population (FCM) and community (TChl a) rates of growth, grazing and production from 24-h in situ incubations at three to four euphotic depths. Overall, picoplankton comprised an active and important component of the community, with biomass values (2.3-69.8 mu g C L(-1)) and production rates (0.8-68.4 mu g C L(-1) day(-1)) that varied positively with Chl a and community (14)C-production. The exception was an intense algal bloom (> 25 mu g Chl a L(-1)) during La Nina-intensified upwelling conditions in April 2008, during which biomass and production estimates of picophytoplankton were at their lowest levels, suggesting that the smallest primary producers were being replaced by larger cells. Thus, for most of the environmental circumstances encountered during our study, our results supported the recent "rising tide" hypothesis that improved growth (nutrient) conditions benefit all size classes, including picophytoplankton. Under extreme conditions of upwelling, however, the picophytoplankton declined abruptly, despite seemingly strong (average) growth rates. Future studies need to provide a better mechanistic understanding of the physical (advection), physiological (nutrient uptake and temperature) and ecological (food web) factors that result in this dramatic nonlinearity in picophytoplankton response to system forcing and richness.

2009
Landry, MR.  2009.  Grazing processes and secondary production in the Arabian Sea: A simple food web synthesis with measurement constraints. Indian ocean biogeochemical processes and ecological variability. ( Wiggert JD, Hood RR, Naqvi SWA, Brink KH, Smith SL, Eds.).:133-146.: American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC (USA)   10.1029/2008GM000781   Abstract

The Joint Global Ocean Flux Study in the Arabian Sea during the mid 1990s provides a rare opportunity to elucidate carbon flows in the lower food web of an open ocean ecosystem. Analysis of that data to date has, however, produced widely divergent perspectives on major flux pathways and roles of zooplankton: from zooplankton as controlling grazers tightly coupled to microbial processes to zooplankton as casual consumers who let a large fraction of production, mostly generated by picophytoplankton, flow directly to detritus and export. Synthesis of experimental grazing rates and production inferences for mesozooplankton and microzooplankton fit well in a conceptually simple food web, constrained by measured carbon flows through phytoplankton and bacteria. Microzooplankton dominate grazing processes, consuming over 70% of particulate primary production (PP), on average, and providing steady and significant supplemental nutrition to mesozooplankton. Direct grazing estimates of mesozooplankton, on the order of 25% of PP, are sufficient to balance the remaining particulate production, with additional transfer through a one- to two-step food chain of microzooplankton accounting for a total ingestion of 6 40% of PP required for mesozooplankton secondary production. Dissolved organic carbon fluxes to bacteria are provided mostly within the constraints of gross and net primary production. Contradictory results from inverse models are likely due to an assumption that exaggerates by approximately twofold the production contribution of picophytoplankton and to the failure to use measured rates of gross primary production as a system constraint. Grazing generally balances net particulate primary production in the Arabian Sea, but true grazer control of phytoplankton dynamics remains an open issue for further study.