Multiscale control of bacterial production by phytoplankton dynamics and sea ice along the western Antarctic Peninsula : a regional and decadal investigation

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Ducklow, Hugh W.
Schofield, Oscar M. E.
Vernet, Maria
Stammerjohn, Sharon E.
Erickson, Matthew
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Bacterial production
Primary production
Sea ice
We present results on phytoplankton and bacterial production and related hydrographic properties collected on nine annual summer cruises along the western Antarctic Peninsula. This region is strongly influenced by interannual variations in the duration and extent of sea ice cover, necessitating a decade-scale study. Our study area transitions from a nearshore region influenced by summer runoff from glaciers to an offshore, slope region dominated by the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. The summer bacterial assemblage is the product of seasonal warming and freshening following spring sea ice retreat and the plankton succession occurring in that evolving water mass. Bacterial production rates averaged 20 mgC m-2 d-1 and were a low (5%) fraction of the primary production (PP). There was significant variation in BP between regions and years, reflecting the variability in sea ice, Chlorophyll and PP. Leucine incorporation was significantly correlated (r2 ranging 0.2-0.7, p<0.001) with both chlorophyll and PP across depths, regions and years indicating strong phytoplankton-bacteria coupling. Relationships with temperature were variable, including positive, negative and insignificant relationships (r2 <0.2 for regressions with p<0.05). Bacterial production is regulated indirectly by variations in sea ice cover within regions and over years, setting the levels of phytoplankton biomass accumulation and PP rates; these in turn fuel BP, to which PP is coupled via direct release from phytoplankton or other less direct pathways.
Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2012. 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 Journal of Marine Systems 98-99 (2012): 26-39, doi:10.1016/j.jmarsys.2012.03.003.
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