Eddy-driven pulses of respiration in the Sargasso Sea
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An analysis of nine years of data from the NW subtropical Atlantic reveals that variability in heterotrophic processes associated with (sub)mesoscale features has a major impact on the balance between photosynthesis and respiration. Higher indirect estimates of net community production (NCPe) are associated with the center of Mode Water Eddies (MWE) and frontal regions between cyclonic and anticyclonic eddies (CA). The increase in NCPe observed at the center of MWE is driven mainly by an increase in autotrophic production, whereas in CA enhanced NCPe rates are the result of an important reduction in bacterial respiration. Both features also exhibit a decrease in nitrate concentration, consistent with nutrient consumption, and relative increases in oxygen anomaly and particulate and dissolved organic carbon in the upper 200 m. Plankton community composition in CA and MWE is characterized by the reduction in bacterial biomass, and the dominance of Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus in CA, and diatoms and dinoflagellates in MWE. Contrary to a common assumption, these results show for the first time that in ecosystems influenced by (sub)mesoscale dynamics, respiration can be as variable as photosynthesis.
Author Posting. © Elsevier B.V., 2009. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Elsevier B.V. for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers 56 (2009): 1242-1250, doi:10.1016/j.dsr.2009.03.001.
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