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Kenitz, KM, Visser AW, Ohman MD, Landry MR, Andersen KH.  2019.  Community trait distribution across environmental gradients. Ecosystems. 22:968-980.   10.1007/s10021-018-0314-5   AbstractWebsite

Variability in community composition is often attributed to underlying differences in physical environments. However, predator-prey interactions can play an equally important role in structuring communities. Although environmental differences select for different species assemblages, less is known about their impacts on trait compositions. We develop a trait-based analysis of plankton communities of the southern California Current System across multiple trophic levels, from bacteria to mesozooplankton, and over a gradient of environmental conditions, from the oligotrophic open ocean to coastal upwelling. Across a factor of four differences in total community biomass, we observe similarities in the size structure along the environmental gradient, with the most pronounced departures from proportional variations in the biomasses found in the largest protists (> 40 mu m). Differences in the trait distributions emerge within a small range of size groups: greater biomass contribution of larger autotrophs (> 10 mu m) is observed only for the upwelling region.

Valencia, B, Landry MR, Decima M, Hannides CCS.  2016.  Environmental drivers of mesozooplankton biomass variability in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences. 121:3131-3143.   10.1002/2016jg003544   AbstractWebsite

The environmental drivers of zooplankton variability are poorly explored for the central subtropical Pacific, where a direct bottom-up food-web connection is suggested by increasing trends in primary production and mesozooplankton biomass at station ALOHA (A Long-term Oligotrophic Habitat Assessment) over the past 20 years (1994-2013). Here we use generalized additive models (GAMs) to investigate how these trends relate to the major modes of North Pacific climate variability. A GAM based on monthly mean data explains 43% of the temporal variability in mesozooplankton biomass with significant influences from primary productivity (PP), sea surface temperature (SST), North Pacific Gyre Oscillation (NPGO), and El Nino. This result mainly reflects the seasonal plankton cycle at station ALOHA, in which increasing light and SST lead to enhanced nitrogen fixation, productivity, and zooplankton biomass during summertime. Based on annual mean data, GAMs for two variables suggest that PP and 3-4 year lagged NPGO individually account for similar to 40% of zooplankton variability. The full annual mean GAM explains 70% of variability of zooplankton biomass with significant influences from PP, 4 year lagged NPGO, and 4 year lagged Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). The NPGO affects wind stress, sea surface height, and subtropical gyre circulation and has been linked to mideuphotic zone anomalies in salinity and PP at station ALOHA. Our study broadens the known impact of this climate mode on plankton dynamics in the North Pacific. While lagged transport effects are also evident for subtropical waters, our study highlights a strong coupling between zooplankton fluctuations and PP, which differs from the transport-dominated climate influences that have been found for North Pacific boundary currents.

Liu, X, Xiao WP, Landry MR, Chiang KP, Wang L, Huang BQ.  2016.  Responses of phytoplankton communities to environmental variability in the East China Sea. Ecosystems. 19:832-849.   10.1007/s10021-016-9970-5   AbstractWebsite

We investigated seasonal and spatial patterns of phytoplankton variability in the East China Sea in order to understand biomass and compositional responses to environmental factors in the contemporary ocean. We used satellite imagery from 2002 to 2013 to define the mean seasonal climatology of sea surface temperature and chlorophyll a. Phytoplankton and environmental measurements were synthesized for the study region and four seasons from 11 cruises conducted from 2006 to 2012. The results of CHEMTAX analyses on group-specific phytoplankton composition were consistent with those of microscopy and flow cytometry observations, revealing three patterns of seasonal variability. Canonical correspondence analysis and generalized additive models (GAMs) were used to resolve the spatiotemporal variations of major phytoplankton groups and their relationships to month, temperature, salinity, nutrients, mixed layer depth, and bottom depth. Monsoon forcing drove the distributional patterns of environmental factors and was critical to explaining phytoplankton dynamics at the seasonal scale. Compared to autumn and winter, significantly higher chlorophyll a concentrations were observed during spring and summer, associated with the spring bloom and the Changjiang (Yangtze) River plume, respectively. Diatoms dominated biomass over the East China Sea, especially during the summer months influenced by the Changjiang (Yangtze) River plume, whereas dinoflagellates were especially important during spring blooms. GAMs analysis showed the differences in their responses to environmental variability, with a clear mid-range salinity optimum (similar to 31) and a more pronounced temperature effect for dinoflagellates. The photosynthetic bacteria, Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus, both increased strongly with warming, but Prochlorococcus showed stronger sensitivity to variations in physical environmental parameters, whereas Synechococcus was more responsive to chemical (nutrient) variability, with broader tolerance of low-salinity conditions.

Decima, M, Landry MR, Stukel MR, Lopez-Lopez L, Krause JW.  2016.  Mesozooplankton biomass and grazing in the Costa Rica Dome: amplifying variability through the plankton food web. Journal of Plankton Research. 38:317-330.   10.1093/plankt/fbv091   AbstractWebsite

We investigated standing stocks and grazing rates of mesozooplankton assemblages in the Costa Rica Dome (CRD), an open-ocean upwelling ecosystem in the eastern tropical Pacific. While phytoplankton biomass in the CRD is dominated by picophytoplankton (<2-mu m cells) with especially high concentrations of Synechococcus spp., we found high mesozooplankton biomass (similar to 5 g dry weight m(-2)) and grazing impact (12-50% integrated water column chlorophyll a), indicative of efficient food web transfer from primary producers to higher levels. In contrast to the relative uniformity in water-column chlorophyll a and mesozooplankton biomass, variability in herbivory was substantial, with lower rates in the central dome region and higher rates in areas offset from the dome center. While grazing rates were unrelated to total phytoplankton, correlations with cyanobacteria (negative) and biogenic SiO2 production (positive) suggest that partitioning of primary production among phytoplankton sizes contributes to the variability observed in mesozooplankton metrics. We propose that advection of upwelled waters away from the dome center is accompanied by changes in mesozooplankton composition and grazing rates, reflecting small changes within the primary producers. Small changes within the phytoplankton community resulting in large changes in the mesozooplankton suggest that the variability in lower trophic level dynamics was effectively amplified through the food web.

Gutierrez-Rodriguez, A, Selph KE, Landry MR.  2016.  Phytoplankton growth and microzooplankton grazing dynamics across vertical environmental gradients determined by transplant in situ dilution experiments. Journal of Plankton Research. 38:271-289.   10.1093/plankt/fbv074   AbstractWebsite

The Costa Rica Dome (CRD) represents a classic case of the bloom-forming capacity of small phytoplankton. Unlike other upwelling systems, autotrophic biomass in the CRD is dominated by picocyanobacteria and small eukaryotes that outcompete larger diatoms and reach extremely high biomass levels. We investigated responses of the subsurface phytoplankton community of the CRD to changes associated with vertical displacement of water masses, coupling in situ transplanted dilution experiments with flow cytometry and epifluorescence microscopy to assess group-specific dynamics. Growth rates of Synechococcus (SYN) and photosynthetic picoeukaryotes (PEUK) were positively correlated with light (R-pearson_SYN = 0.602 and R-pearson_PEUK = 0.588, P<0.001). Growth rates of Prochlorococcus (PRO), likely affected by photoinhibition, were not light correlated (R-pearson_PRO = 0.101, P = 0.601). Overall, grazing and growth rates were closely coupled in all picophytoplankton groups (R-spearman_PRO = 0.572, R-spearman_SYN = 0.588, R-spearman_PEUK = 0.624), and net growth rates remained close to zero. Conversely, the abundance and biomass of larger phytoplankton, mainly diatoms, increased more than 10-fold in shallower transplant incubations indicating that, in addition to trace-metal chemistry, light also plays a significant role in controlling microphytoplankton populations in the CRD.

Selph, KE, Landry MR, Taylor AG, Gutierrez-Rodriguez A, Stukel MR, Wokuluk J, Pasulka A.  2016.  Phytoplankton production and taxon-specific growth rates in the Costa Rica Dome. Journal of Plankton Research. 38:199-215.   10.1093/plankt/fbv063   AbstractWebsite

During summer 2010, we investigated phytoplankton production and growth rates at 19 stations in the eastern tropical Pacific, where winds and strong opposing currents generate the Costa Rica Dome (CRD), an open-ocean upwelling feature. Primary production (C-14-incorporation) and group-specific growth and net growth rates (two-treatment sea-water dilution method) were estimated from samples incubated in situ at eight depths. Our cruise coincided with a mild El Nino event, and only weak upwelling was observed in the CRD. Nevertheless, the highest phytoplankton abundances were found near the dome center. However, mixed-layer growth rates were lowest in the dome center (similar to 0.5-0.9 day(-1)), but higher on the edge of the dome (similar to 0.9-1.0 day(-1)) and in adjacent coastal waters (0.9-1.3 day(-1)). We found good agreement between independent methods to estimate growth rates. Mixed-layer growth rates of Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus were largely balanced by mortality, whereas eukaryotic phytoplankton showed positive net growth (similar to 0.5-0.6 day(-1)), that is, growth available to support larger (mesozooplankton) consumer biomass. These are the first group-specific phytoplankton rate estimates in this region, and they demonstrate that integrated primary production is high, exceeding 1 g C m(-2) day(-1) on average, even during a period of reduced upwelling.

Chappell, PD, Vedmati J, Selph KE, Cyr HA, Jenkins BD, Landry MR, Moffett JW.  2016.  Preferential depletion of zinc within Costa Rica upwelling dome creates conditions for zinc co-limitation of primary production. Journal of Plankton Research. 38:244-255.   10.1093/plankt/fbw018   AbstractWebsite

The Costa Rica Dome (CRD) is a wind-driven feature characterized by high primary production and an unusual cyanobacterial bloom in surface waters. It is not clear whether this bloom arises from top-down or bottom-up processes. Several studies have argued that trace metal geochemistry within the CRD contributes to the composition of the phytoplankton assemblages, since cyanobacteria and eukaryotic phytoplankton have different transition metal requirements. Here, we report that total dissolved zinc (Zn) is significantly depleted relative to phosphate (P) and silicate (Si) within the upper water column of the CRD compared with other oceanic systems, and this may create conditions favorable for cyanobacteria, which have lower Zn requirements than their eukaryotic competitors. Shipboard grow-out experiments revealed that while Si was a limiting factor under our experimental conditions, additions of Si and either iron (Fe) or Zn led to higher biomass than Si additions alone. The addition of Fe and Zn alone did not lead to significant enhancements. Our results suggest that the depletion of Zn relative to P in upwelled waters may create conditions in the near-surface waters that favor phytoplankton with low Zn requirements, including cyanobacteria.

Brzezinski, MA, Krause JW, Bundy RM, Barbeau KA, Franks P, Goericke R, Landry MR, Stukel MR.  2015.  Enhanced silica ballasting from iron stress sustains carbon export in a frontal zone within the California Current. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 120:4654-4669.   10.1002/2015jc010829   AbstractWebsite

Nutrient dynamics, phytoplankton rate processes, and export were examined in a frontal region between an anticyclone and a pair of cyclones 120 km off the coast in the southern California Current System (sCCS). Low silicic acid: nitrate ratios (Si:N) and high nitrate to iron ratios (N: Fe) characteristic of Fe-limiting conditions in the sCCS were associated with the northern cyclone and with the transition zone between the cyclones and the anticyclone. Phytoplankton growth in low-Si:N, high-N:Fe waters responded strongly to added Fe, confirming growth limitation by Fe of the diatom-dominated phytoplankton community. Low Si: N waters had low biogenic silica content, intermediate productivity, but high export compared to intermediate Si: N waters indicating increased export efficiency under Fe stress. Biogenic silica and particulate organic carbon (POC) export were both high beneath low Si: N waters with biogenic silica export being especially enhanced. This suggests that relatively high POC export from low Si: N waters was supported by silica ballasting from Fe-limited diatoms. Higher POC export efficiency in low Si: N waters may have been further enhanced by lower rates of organic carbon remineralization due to reduced grazing of more heavily armored diatoms growing under Fe stress. The results imply that Fe stress can enhance carbon export, despite lowering productivity, by driving higher export efficiency.

Gutierrez-Rodriguez, A, Decima M, Popp BN, Landry MR.  2014.  Isotopic invisibility of protozoan trophic steps in marine food webs. Limnology and Oceanography. 59:1590-1598.   10.4319/lo.2014.59.5.1590   AbstractWebsite

According to modern oceanographic perspectives that emphasize microbial pathways, phagotrophic protists comprise one to several levels of intermediate consumers between phytoplankton and larger metazooplankton (copepods and krill). However, recent attempts to quantify pelagic trophic structure in the open ocean using nitrogen stable isotope techniques have brought into question whether such measurements adequately account for protistan trophic steps. Here, we use a two-stage chemostat system, with Dunaliella tertiolecta and Oxyrrhis marina as a predator-prey model, to address this question experimentally. To investigate N-15 trophic discrimination under different conditions of nitrogen availability and recycling, Oxyrrhis was fed in the light and in the dark on phytoplankton provided with high and low nutrient ratios of N : P. We used both bulk and amino acids-compound specific isotopic analysis (AA CSIA) to distinguish trophic fractionation from changes in the delta N-15 values of phytoplankton (isotopic baseline). Results demonstrate that protistan consumers are not, in fact, significantly enriched in N-15 relative to their prey, a marked departure from the general findings for metazoan consumers. In addition, we show that changes in the isotopic baseline propagate rapidly through the protistan food chain, highlighting the need to account for this variability at ecologically relevant time scales. If protistan trophic steps are largely invisible or significantly underestimated using nitrogen isotope measurements, research that utilize such measurements in ecological, fisheries, and climate change studies may miss a large part of the ocean's variability in food-web structure and ecosystem function.

Freibott, A, Linacre L, Landry MR.  2014.  A slide preparation technique for light microscopy analysis of ciliates preserved in acid Lugol's fixative. Limnology and Oceanography-Methods. 12:54-62.   10.4319/lom.2014.12.54   AbstractWebsite

A slide preparation method for seawater samples preserved in acid Lugol's is presented here as an alternative to the traditional Utermohl settling chamber method for microplankton analysis. This preparation maintains the integrity of fragile cells, such as ciliates, resolves issues associated with the transience of samples prepared in settling chambers, and allows the use of automated image acquisition methods. Samples are filtered onto polycarbonate membranes and analyzed with transmitted light microscopy. The visibility of pore outlines is minimized by using mounting oil (Cargille Series A immersion oil, Certified Refractive Index, n(D)(25 degrees C) 1.5840 +/- 0.0002) with a refractive index matching that of the membrane material. We assessed the efficacy of this new method by comparing abundance and biomass estimates for ciliates in settled and filtered samples. Acceptable results were found for the most delicate of samples stored long-term in acid Lugol's. Some cell shrinkage occurred during the filtration and brief drying steps. Therefore, corrections for ciliate length and width measurements in filtered samples were determined to counteract this effect on total cell biovolume. Overall, the method provides a simple and stable alternative to settling chamber analysis for ciliates preserved in acid Lugol's.

Ohman, MD, Barbeau K, Franks PJS, Goericke R, Landry MR, Miller AJ.  2013.  Ecological transitions in a coastal upwelling ecosystem. Oceanography. 26:210-219. AbstractWebsite

The southern California Current Ecosystem (CCE) is a dynamic eastern boundary current ecosystem that is forced by ocean-atmosphere variability on interannual, multidecadal, and long-term secular time scales. Recent evidence suggests that apparent abrupt transitions in ecosystem conditions reflect linear tracking of the physical environment rather than oscillations between alternative preferred states. A space-for-time exchange is one approach that permits use of natural spatial variability in the CCE to develop a mechanistic understanding needed to project future temporal changes. The role of (sub)mesoscale frontal systems in altering rates of nutrient transport, primary and secondary production, export fluxes, and the rates of encounters between predators and prey is an issue central to this pelagic ecosystem and its future trajectory because the occurrence of such frontal features is increasing.

Pasulka, AL, Landry MR, Taniguchi DAA, Taylor AG, Church MJ.  2013.  Temporal dynamics of phytoplankton and heterotrophic protists at station ALOHA. Deep-Sea Research Part Ii-Topical Studies in Oceanography. 93:44-57.   10.1016/j.dsr2.2013.01.007   AbstractWebsite

Pico- and nano-sized autotrophic and heterotrophic unicellular eukaryotes (protists) are an important component of open-ocean food webs. To date, however, no direct measurements of cell abundance and biomass of these organisms have been incorporated into our understanding of temporal variability in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre (NPSG). Based primarily on epifluoresence microscopy augmented with flow cytometry, we assessed the abundance and biomass of autotrophs and heterotrophic protists at Station ALOHA between June 2004 and January 2009. Autotrophic eukaryotes (A-EUKS) were more abundant in both the upper euphotic zone and deep chlorophyll maximum layer (DCML) during winter months, driven mostly by small flagellates. A higher ratio of A-EUKS to heterotrophic protists (A:H ratio) and a structural shift in A-EUKS to smaller cells during the winter suggests a seasonal minimum in grazing pressure. Although Prochlococcus spp. comprised between 30% and 50% of autotrophic biomass in both the upper and lower euphotic zone for most of the year, the community structure and seasonality of nano-and micro-phytoplanlcon differed between the two layers. In the upper layer, Trichodesmium spp. was an important contributor to total biomass (20-50%) in the late summer and early fall. Among A-EUKS, prymnesiophytes and other small flagellates were the dominant contributors to total biomass in both layers regardless of season (10-20% and 13-39%, respectively). Based on our biomass estimates, community composition was less seasonally variable in the DCML relative to the upper euphotic zone. In surface waters, mean estimates of C:Chl a varied with season highest in the summer and lowest in the winter (means=156 +/- 157 and 89 +/- 32, respectively); however, there was little seasonal variability of C:Chl a in the DCML (100 m mean=29.9 +/- 9.8). Biomass of heterotrophic protists peaked in the summer and generally declined monotonically with depth without a deep maximum. Anomalous patterns of A:H variability during summer 2006 (low mesozooplankton, high A-EUKS and H-dinoflagellates) suggest that top-down forcing is strong enough to impact lower trophic levels in the NPSG. Continued studies of community abundance and biomass relationships are needed for adequate representations of plankton dynamics in ecosystem models and for developing a predictive understanding of both intra-and inter-lower trophic level responses to climate variability in the NPSG. (c) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Decima, M, Landry MR, Popp BN.  2013.  Environmental perturbation effects on baseline delta N-15 values and zooplankton trophic flexibility in the southern California Current Ecosystem. Limnology and Oceanography. 58:624-634.   10.4319/lo.2013.58.2.0624   AbstractWebsite

Nitrogen isotopic compositions of zooplankton in the California Current Ecosystem (CCE) are known to vary over inter-annual scales of climate variability, but the extent to which those changes are driven by variations in baseline phytoplankton delta N-15 values vs. zooplankton trophic position (TP) is poorly resolved. We use field samples collected during a large natural environmental perturbation, the 1998-1999 alternation between El Nino and La Nina states, to test the ability of large dominant CCE zooplankton Euphausia pacifica and Calanus pacificus to alter their TPs in response to environmental variability. To distinguish trophic changes from variations of delta N-15 values at the base of the food web, the zooplankton were assayed by Compound Specific Isotope Analysis of Amino Acids (CSIA-AA). Linear mixed-effect models were developed to utilize data from all amino acids (AAs), providing greater statistical power than the typical CSIA-AA approach of using only phenylalanine and glutamic acid. We confirm a significant N-15 enrichment of similar to 2 parts per thousand at the base of the food web for all AAs and all zooplankton groups during the 1998 El Nino. This baseline enrichment in N-15 has been speculated to occur during El Nino events but never conclusively shown. We also demonstrate a significantly elevated TP, implying increased carnivory during 1998, for E. pacifica while C. pacificus did not alter their TP between years. Lastly, TPs calculated from the standard CSIA-AA equation with laboratory-derived constants gave unrealistically low estimates, suggesting an assessment of these variables in situ is needed for an accurate application in natural systems.

Li, QP, Franks PJS, Ohman MD, Landry MR.  2012.  Enhanced nitrate fluxes and biological processes at a frontal zone in the southern California current system. Journal of Plankton Research. 34:790-801.   10.1093/plankt/fbs006   AbstractWebsite

Processes that occur at mesoscale and submesoscale features such as eddies and fronts are important for marine ecosystem dynamics and biogeochemical fluxes. However, their impacts on the fate of biogenic organic carbon in coastal oceans are not well quantified because physical and biological interactions at such features are very complex with short time-and small spatial scales variability. As part of the California Current Ecosystem Long-Term Ecological Research (CCE-LTER) Process studies in the southern California Current in October 2008, we sampled across a strong temperature and chlorophyll front ('A-Front') separating water masses with distinct hydrographic and biogeochemical characteristics and a modified biological assemblage at the frontal interface. Thorpe-scale analyses of the hydrographic data from a free-fall moving vessel profiler suggested an increased diapycnal diffusive nitrate flux at the front zone. Based on these field data, we use data-driven diagnostic biogeochemical models to quantify how the front-induced physical mixing influenced the production, grazing and transport of phytoplankton carbon in the southern California Current. Our results suggest that enhanced diffusive diapycnal fluxes of nutrients stimulated phytoplankton primary production at the front; this effect, together with reduced microzooplankton grazing, increased net growth of the phytoplankton community leading to locally enhanced biomass of large phytoplankton, such as diatoms, in the frontal zone.

Chekalyuk, AM, Landry MR, Goericke R, Taylor AG, Hafez MA.  2012.  Laser fluorescence analysis of phytoplankton across a frontal zone in the California Current ecosystem. Journal of Plankton Research. 34:761-777.   10.1093/plankt/fbs034   AbstractWebsite

Spatial variability of chlorophyll, phycobiliproteins, chromophoric dissolved organic matter and variable fluorescence (F-v/F-m) was analyzed across a deep-water density front in the Southern California Current Ecosystem using an Advanced Laser Fluorometer (ALF) calibrated to assess chlorophyll concentration (C-chl), total autotrophic carbon (AC) and Synechococcus carbon biomass (SYN). Three distinct autotrophic assemblages were identified. Fluorescence was found to be three to four times higher in cooler mesotrophic waters north of the front than in warm oligotrophic waters to the south. Northern waters were distinguished by a shallow pigment maximum dominated by a blue-water type of Synechococcus and by the presence of green-water Synechococcus and cryptophytes; only blue-water Synechococcus were detected at lower concentration south of the front. The highest C-chl and AC values, accompanied by elevated F-v/F-m and chlorophyll fluorescence per unit of C-chl, and minimal Synechococcus abundance, were found directly at the front in a 2040 m deep layer dominated by diatoms. The covariation of F-v/F-m with nitrate concentration in this layer, along with the structural changes in the phytoplankton community, suggest that it had been generated by in situ processes rather than advection. Strong structural responses to the local hydrography were also revealed by high-frequency underway ALF surface sampling, which detected an abrupt transition from low to high SYN on the northern side of a sharp salinity gradient at the front. Synechococcus-specific phycoerythrin fluorescence (F-PE12) and SYN were highly correlated in surface waters (R-2 0.95), while F-PE12:SYN gradually increased with depth. Strong relationships were found for chlorophyll fluorescence versus C-chl (R-2 0.95) and AC (R-2 0.79).

Landry, MR, Ohman MD, Goericke R, Stukel MR, Barbeau KA, Bundy R, Kahru M.  2012.  Pelagic community responses to a deep-water front in the California Current Ecosystem: overview of the A-Front Study. Journal of Plankton Research. 34:739-748.   10.1093/plankt/fbs025   AbstractWebsite

In October 2008, we investigated pelagic community composition and biomass, from bacteria to fish, across a sharp frontal gradient overlying deep waters south of Point Conception, California. This northsouth gradient, which we called A-Front, was formed by the eastward flow of the California Current and separated cooler mesotrophic waters of coastal upwelling origin to the north, from warm oligotrophic waters of likely mixed subarcticsubtropical origin to the south. Plankton biomass and phytoplankton growth rates were two to three times greater on the northern side, and primary production rates were elevated 5-fold to the north. Compared with either of the adjacent waters, the frontal interface was strongly enriched and uniquely defined by a subsurface bloom of large diatoms, elevated concentrations of suspension-feeding zooplankton, high bioacoustical estimates of pelagic fish and enhanced bacterial production and phytoplankton biomass and photosynthetic potential. Such habitats, though small in areal extent, may contribute disproportionately and importantly to regional productivity, nutrient cycling, carbon fluxes and trophic ecology. As a general introduction to the A-Front study, we provide an overview of its design and implementation, a brief summary of major findings and a discussion of potential mechanisms of plankton enrichment at the front.

Taylor, AG, Landry MR, Selph KE, Yang EJ.  2011.  Biomass, size structure and depth distributions of the microbial community in the eastern equatorial Pacific. Deep-Sea Research Part Ii-Topical Studies in Oceanography. 58:342-357.   10.1016/j.dsr2.2010.08.017   AbstractWebsite

We investigated the biomass, size structure and composition of microbial communities over a broad area of the eastern equatorial Pacific (4 degrees N-4 degrees S, 110-140 degrees W) during cruises in December 2004 (EB04) and September 2005 (EB05). Vertical-profile samples were collected at 30 stations at depths extending from the surface to the 0.1% light level, and each sample was analyzed quantitatively by flow cytometry and epifluorescence microscopy. Autotrophic biomass averaged 14.8 +/- 4.2 (1 s.d.) mu g CL(-1) for the euphotic zone, with dinoflagellates comprising 39%, Prochlorococcus 28%, other flagellates 18%, Synechococcus 7.5%, and diatoms 6.3%. Nanoplankton accounted for 46% of autotroph biomass, while pico- and microphytoplankton comprised 39 and 16%, respectively. C:Chl averaged 64 +/- 14 for the euphotic zone, with a mean mixed-layer value of 78 +/- 20 and a minimum of 36 +/- 15 at the 1% light level. Heterotrophic biomass averaged 7.0 +/- 1.2 mu g C L(-1) for prokaryotes, 1.6 +/- 0.9 mu g CL(-1) for dinoflagellates, 1.5 +/- 1.1 mu g C L(-1) for other flagellates, and 2.1 +/- 0.4 mu g C L(-1) for ciliates. Euphotic zone integrated biomass varied 2-fold, 1.2 to 2.5 g C m(-2), among stations, decreasing west to east with the gradient in euphotic zone concentrations of dissolved iron. Overall, community biomass and the contributions of functional groups displayed remarkable constancy over our study area, but some patterns were evident, such as the enhancement of picophytoplankton in the leading (upwelling) edges of tropical instability waves and larger diatoms in the trailing (downwelling) edges. Prochlorococcus, in particular, exhibited more variability than expected, given its generally assumed role as a stable background species in the tropical oceans, and was positively associated with the areas of enhanced autotrophic carbon and Chl a. With corrections for different methodological assumptions taken into account, our EB05 estimates of mixed-layer community biomass are 27-35% higher than values for JGOFS studies in 1992. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Stukel, MR, Landry MR, Selph KE.  2011.  Nanoplankton mixotrophy in the eastern equatorial Pacific. Deep-Sea Research Part Ii-Topical Studies in Oceanography. 58:378-386.   10.1016/j.dsr2.2010.08.016   AbstractWebsite

Heterotrophic bacteria, cyanobacteria, and picoeukaryotic algae dominate the plankton community of high nutrient-low chlorophyll (HNLC) areas of the eastern equatorial Pacific (EEP). While grazing on these picoplankton is often attributed to aplastidic zooflagellates, mixotrophic nanoflagellates (phagotrophic phototrophs) may also exert a large grazing pressure. We assessed the relative contributions of mixotrophic nanoplankton and obligate heterotrophs to picoplankton phagotrophy in mixed-layer water of the EEP using 0.8-mu m Fluorescently-Labeled Bacteria (FLB). Obligate heterotrophs and phototrophs were distinguished from their ratios of microscopically measured red (chlorophyll a) to green (proflavin-stained protein) fluorescence. Sampling sites were located along a nutrient gradient formed by a tropical instability wave at 0.5 degrees N between 123.5 degrees W and 128 degrees W and at 1.75 degrees N, 125 degrees W. The majority of ingested particles were found within 3-5 mu m flagellates, with 54% of the demonstrated phagotrophs belonging to the high-pigment putatively phototrophic population and obligate heterotrophs responsible for 51% of the demonstrated phagotrophy due to their greater propensity to ingest multiple prey. The importance of mixotrophy as a means of alleviating nutrient stress is indicated by a strong inverse relationship between the proportion of community FLB uptake by mixotrophs and ambient nutrient concentration. Low ambient Fe concentration and a demonstrated community response to Fe-addition in shipboard grow-out experiments suggest that mixotrophs were primarily engaging in phagotrophy to offset Fe-deficiencies. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Krause, JW, Brzezinski MA, Landry MR, Baines SB, Nelson DM, Selph KE, Taylor AG, Twining BS.  2010.  The effects of biogenic silica detritus, zooplankton grazing, and diatom size structure on silicon cycling in the euphotic zone of the eastern equatorial Pacific. Limnology and Oceanography. 55:2608-2622.   10.4319/lo2010.55.6.2608   AbstractWebsite

Two novel and independent couplings of field data sets suggest that only, similar to 10-20% of the biogenic silica (bSi) in the surface waters of the eastern equatorial Pacific upwelling zone is associated with living diatoms. Accounting for the, similar to 80-90% contribution of detrital bSi reconciles discrepancies between estimates of diatom growth rates obtained by different methods. Approximately 50% of the bSi associated with living diatoms was found to be in cells whose greatest linear dimension was > 40 mu m. The contribution of that > 40-mu m fraction to bSi production was less than its contribution to biomass, as smaller diatoms, between 10 and 40 mu m, contributed 59-100% of bSi production. A steady-state model, parameterized using field data, appears to explain the origin of the large detrital bSi pool, relative to the living fraction. Because specific rates of diatom growth are several times higher than those of detrital bSi dissolution, bSi must be predominantly detrital to balance gross rates of silica production and dissolution. Zooplankton grazing is the dominant process creating the detrital bSi pool, and the balance between diatom growth and zooplankton grazing rates maintains a living bSi pool that is a small fraction of the total bSi. Our results show near equivalence between the gross rates of detrital silica production by mesozooplankton grazing and bSi export from the euphotic zone, and also between the rates of detrital silica production by microzooplankton grazing and bSi dissolution, suggesting distinct roles for the two zooplankton size classes in regional Si biogeochemistry.

Chen, BZ, Liu HB, Landry MR, Chen M, Sun J, Shek L, Chen XH, Harrison PJ.  2009.  Estuarine nutrient loading affects phytoplankton growth and microzooplankton grazing at two contrasting sites in Hong Kong coastal waters. Marine Ecology-Progress Series. 379:77-90.   10.3354/meps07888   AbstractWebsite

To investigate the effects of enhanced nutrient loading in estuarine waters on phytoplankton growth and microzooplankton grazing, we conducted monthly dilution experiments at 2 stations in Hong Kong coastal waters with contrasting trophic conditions. The western estuarine station (WE) near the Pearl River estuary is strongly influenced by freshwater discharge, while the eastern oceanic station (EO) is mostly affected by the South China Sea. Growth rates of phytoplankton were often limited by nutrients at EO, while nutrient limitation of phytoplankton growth seldom Occurred at WE due to the high level of nutrients delivered by the Pearl River, especially in the summer rainy season. Higher chlorophyll a, microzooplankton biomass, phytoplankton growth and microzooplankton grazing rates were found at WE than at EO. However, the increase in chlorophyll greatly exceeded the increase in phytoplankton growth rate, reflecting different response relationships to nutrient availability. Strong seasonality was observed at both stations, with temperature being an important factor affecting both phytoplankton growth and microzooplankton grazing rates. Picophytoplankton, especially Synechococcus, also exhibited great seasonality at EO, with summer abundances being 2 or 3 orders of magnitude higher than those during winter, Our results confirm that in eutrophic coastal environments, microzooplankton grazing is a dominant loss pathway for phytoplankton, accounting for the utilization of >50%, of primary production on average.

Hoover, RS, Hoover D, Miller M, Landry MR, DeCarlo EH, Mackenzie FT.  2006.  Zooplankton response to storm runoff in a tropical estuary: bottom-up and top-down controls. Marine Ecology-Progress Series. 318:187-201.   10.3354/meps318187   AbstractWebsite

Zooplankton successional patterns and response times were characterized in a tropical estuary following a major storm-runoff event to evaluate the effects of a nutrient perturbation on community composition and dynamics. Intensive water-column monitoring in southern Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, showed that dissolved macronutrients - NO3- + NO2-, SRP (soluble reactive phosphorus) and Si(OH)(4) - increased significantly immediately following the initial runoff event. Bottom-up effects were evident in both phytoplankton and zooplankton communities. An initial phytoplankton bloom was dominated by small cells and lasted only a few days, while post-bloom pigment concentrations showed a more gradual increase in total chlorophyll a and a shift to a diatom-dominated community. The initial bloom had an unexpectedly large influence on zooplankton growth and reproduction on extremely short time scales. Appendicularians exhibited the most dramatic response, with biomass increasing 6-fold in 1 d, and abundances reaching values only rarely observed in these waters. Response covaried with organism size, with larger components of the community, especially calanoid copepods and gelatinous zooplankton, increasing as new resources became available. Post-bloom changes in zooplankton and phytoplankton community structure also suggest significant top-down controls on phytoplankton and zooplankton community biomass and structure, with increased predation on appendicularians and copepods resulting in partial release of grazing pressure on small and large cells, respectively. Nutrient-rich runoff can have significant and surprisingly rapid impacts on zooplankton population dynamics in tropical coastal waters via direct, pulsed, food influences on the growth and reproduction of omnivorous organisms and the indirect stimulation of secondary consumers.

Selph, KE, Shacat J, Landry MR.  2005.  Microbial community composition and growth rates in the NW Pacific during spring 2002. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 6   10.1029/2005gc000983   AbstractWebsite

[1] The IOC North Pacific expedition in spring ( May 2002) sailed from Osaka, Japan, to Honolulu, Hawaii, and surveyed the region from roughly 22 to 50 degrees N and 147 degrees E to 158 degrees W. Nine stations were chosen to characterize three distinct water masses, as well as their boundary regions: the Kuroshio Current, the North Pacific subarctic gyre, and the North Pacific subtropical gyre. Grazing largely balanced growth at all stations, with an average net growth rate of 0.11 +/- 0.16 d(-1) (cell-based) and 0.06 +/- 0.15 d(-1) (chlorophyll-based). The stations could be distinguished, however, by phytoplankton community composition and growth response to nutrient additions ( ammonium, phosphate, manganese, and iron). Nutrients were undetectable in surface waters of the Kuroshio Current, where a centric diatom-dominated bloom showed a significant growth response to added nutrients. Iron limitation was observed for the cyanobacteria Synechococcus at the two subarctic gyre stations; however, the photosynthetic eukaryotes, which dominated the photosynthetic biomass at these stations, were not nutrient-limited. Four oligotrophic subtropical gyre stations were dominated by photosynthetic bacteria (Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus) and small (< 5 mu m) eukaryotic autotrophs, which exhibited a dramatic increase in growth rate with macronutrient additions but displayed little or no increased growth with iron additions alone. Overall, the ratio of heterotroph consumer biomass to autotroph biomass was higher in the Prochlorococcus-dominated subtropical gyre sites (0.5) than the subarctic or Kuroshio Current sites (0.2 - 0.3).

Landry, MR, Calbet A.  2004.  Microzooplankton production in the oceans. ICES Journal of Marine Science. 61:501-507.   10.1016/j.icesjms.2004.03.011   AbstractWebsite

A literature synthesis of phytoplankton growth (It) and grazing (m) rate estimates front dilution experiments reveals that microzooplankton account for most phytoplankton mortality in the oceans, averaging 60-75% of daily phytoplankton production (PP) across a spectrum of open-ocean and coastal systems. For reasonable estimates of gross growth efficiency (GGE = 30-40%), such impacts imply that secondary production rates of microzooplankton (MP2degrees) are typically in the range 21-34% of PP. However, multiple trophic transfers within the microbial community can further enhance total microzooplankton production by an additional third to a half (MPtot = 28-55% of PP). These estimates are 2-5 times typical values for bacterial production (10-15% of PP). Thus, in aggregate and on average, microzooplankton consume substantially more (6-7 times) production from phytoplankton than from heterotrophic bacteria. High grazing impacts and relatively high GGEs are consistent with population growth rates for microzooplankton and phytoplankton that are roughly equivalent under ambient conditions, which may be requisite for grazing regulation. Transfer efficiencies of microzooplankton production to mesozooplankton depend critically on the number of predatory interactions among micro-consumers. and may be one way in which systems differ substantially. Overall, the ability to quantify microzooplankton production in terms of more broadly measured rates of PP provides a potential avenue for broadening our understanding of ocean community dynamics through,h remote sensing and modelling. (C) 2004 International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Twining, BS, Baines SB, Fisher NS, Landry MR.  2004.  Cellular iron contents of plankton during the Southern Ocean Iron Experiment (SOFeX). Deep-Sea Research Part I-Oceanographic Research Papers. 51:1827-1850.   10.1016/j.dsr.2004.08.007   AbstractWebsite

Iron (Fe) availability limits phytoplankton biomass and production in large regions of the Southern Ocean and influences community composition and size structure, which may affect C export and other system-level functions. To improve our understanding of Fe partitioning within communities and the response of different components to fertilization, we assessed the cellular Fe contents of individual diatoms, autotrophic flagellates, and heterotrophic flagellates during the recent Southern Ocean Fe Experiment using synchrotron-based X-ray fluorescence (SXRF). Dual Fe-55/C-14 radioisotope incubations were also conducted to estimate Fe:C ratios in size-fractionated plankton. Cellular Fe quotas determined by the two techniques were in close agreement when low amounts of Fe-55 (0.2 nM) were added, but Fe-55 additions of 2 nM resulted in 2-3-fold higher quotas. SXRF assessments of cellular Fe quotas (normalized to C) were generally in good agreement with prior bulk analyses of natural assemblages, but revealed compositional differences among protistan taxa not previously detected. Mean Fe:C ratios for diatoms, autotrophic flagellates, and heterotrophic flagellates from unfertilized waters were 6.0, 8.7, and 14.1 mumol mol C-1, respectively. Smaller cells had higher Fe:C ratios than larger cells. Fertilization enhanced Fe quotas in all cell types, with mean Fe:C ratios increasing approximately 4-fold (from about 10 to about 40 mumol mol C-1) after two Fe additions. This study provides some of the first measurements of Fe quotas in phytoplankton cells from natural communities and the first measurements of Fe quotas in natural protozoa. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Neveux, J, Dupouy C, Blanchot J, Le Bouteiller A, Landry MR, Brown SL.  2003.  Diel dynamics of chlorophylls in high-nutrient, low-chlorophyll waters of the equatorial Pacific (180 degrees): Interactions of growth, grazing, physiological responses, and mixing. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 108   10.1029/2000jc000747   AbstractWebsite

[1] In situ diel variations of extracted chlorophyllous pigments, beam attenuation by particles (c(p)), and in vivo chlorophyll fluorescence ( F-iv) were investigated during a 5-day time series in high-nutrient, low-chlorophyll waters of the equatorial Pacific ( date line = 180degrees). Samples were taken hourly at 10 depths in the upper 100 m during the first 48 hours, then sampling frequency decreased to 3 hours. In the 30 - 70 m layer the integrated chlorophyll concentrations, cp, and Fiv increased during the light period, but the minima and, especially, maxima were not fully synchronized. The lowest values of total chlorophyll a (Tchl a = chlorophyll a + divinyl-chlorophyll a) occurred around 5 - 6 hours, slightly ( 0 - 2 hours) before that of cp and Fiv. Tchl a reached a maximum around 1500 hours +/- 1 hour, clearly before c(p) (1700 hours) and F-iv (1900 hours). In the 0 - 30 m layer, diel variations of the integrated chlorophyll concentrations, cp, and Fiv were clearly out of phase. They showed a nocturnal increase in Tchl a, starting around midnight and peaking in early morning ( 0900 hours). In contrast, cp increased only during the light period in the upper 30 m, and variations of Fiv were largely opposite to those of extracted Tchl a. Specific phytoplankton growth (mu(0)) and grazing loss (g) rates were estimated from diel variations in the 30 - 70 m layer and compared to independent rate estimates from experimental incubations. These results are discussed in the context of physical processes and physiological responses of the cells to the daily photocycle.