Phytoplanktonic nutrient utilisation and nutrient signature in the Southern Ocean
Goeyens, Leo × Semeneh, M Baumann, MEM Elskens, M Shopova, D Dehairs, F #
Elsevier science bv
Journal of marine systems vol:17 issue:1-4 pages:143-157
The separation in Southern Ocean provinces of silicate excess at nitrate exhaustion and of nitrate excess at silicate exhaustion was already introduced by Kamykowski and Zentara (Kamykowski, D., Zentara, S.J., 1985. Nitrate and silicic acid in the world ocean: patterns and processes. Mar. Ecol. Frog. Ser. 26, 47-59; and Kamykowski, D., Zentara, S.J., 1989. Circumpolar plant nutrient covariation in the Southern Ocean: patterns and processes. Mar. Ecol. Frog. Ser. 58, 101-111) and our investigations of the silicate to nitrate uptake ratios confirm the earlier distinction. Oligotrophic antarctic waters mainly exhibit proportionally higher silicate removal what induces a potential for nitrate excess. The nitrogen uptake regime of such areas is characterised by low absolute as well as specific nitrate uptake rates throughout. Maximal values did not exceed 0.15 mu M d(-1) and 0.005 h(-1), respectively. Corresponding f-ratios ranged from 0.39 to 0.86. This scenario contrasts strikingly to the more fertile ice edge areas. They showed a drastic but short vernal increase in nitrate uptake. Absolute uptake rates reached a maximum value of 2.18 mu M d(-1) whereas the maximal specific uptake rate was 0.063 h(-1). In addition to an optimal physical environment for bloom development, accumulation of ammonium stimulated nitrate uptake in a direct or indirect way. Since ammonium build-up in surface waters traces enhanced remineralisation, release of other essential compounds during degradation of organic matter might have been the main trigger. This peak nitrate utilisation during early spring led to the observed potential for silicate excess. With increasing seasonal maturity the nitrate uptake became inhibited by the presence of enhanced ammonium availability (up to 8% of the inorganic nitrogen pool), however, and after a short period of intensive nitrate consumption the uptake rates drop to very low levels, which are comparable to the ones observed in the area of nitrate excess at silicate exhaustion.