Silicoflagellates and Actiniscus : vertical fluxes at Pacific and Atlantic sediment trap stations
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Vertical fluxes of silicoflagellate skeletons were measured in meso- and bathypelagic zones at four PARFLUX sediment trap stations located in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. The average flux measured at several depths ranged from 35 X 103 skeletons/m2/day at the Pacific gyre (P1) station to 424 X 103 skeletons/m2/day at the Panama Basin (PB1) station. The skeletal fluxes at these stations constituted a few weight percent or less of the total biogenic opal flux. The fluxes measured at Station P1, as well as the relative abundance of different assemblages, were fairly constant with depth. At Station PB1, while relative abundance of assemblages was constant with depth, the flux measured at mesopelagic depths was threefold greater than that in the bathypelagic zone. At equatorial Atlantic Station E a slight increase toward the bathypelagic zone is correlated with gradual change in the relative abundance of two predominant taxa, suggesting seasonality in the production of each taxa. Aggregate forms of vertical settling were observed at Station E; the number of skeletons in the aggregates was more than one-half of the total number in the mesopelagic zone and it decreased with increasing depth. The percent abundances of Dictyocha messanensis messanensis and Distephanus pulchra are correlated with organic carbon flux at four stations. Preservation of the skeletons in Holocene sediment at Station P1 is less than one percent of the silicoflagellate flux.