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Microbial community biomass, production and grazing along 110°E in the eastern Indian Ocean

Landry, M.R., Hood, R.R., Davies, C.H., Selph, K.E., Antoine, D., Carl, M.C. and Beckley, L.E. (2022) Microbial community biomass, production and grazing along 110°E in the eastern Indian Ocean. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography . Art. 105134.

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We investigated plankton biomass structure, production and grazing rates from temperate to tropical waters (39.5–11.5°S) along the historic 110°E transect in the eastern Indian Ocean (IO) during May–June 2019. The timing captures the seasonal transition from moderate productivity in the subtropical sector to seasonally high primary production in tropical waters as described in IIOE (International Indian Ocean Expedition) studies of the 1960s. Carbon-based estimates of phytoplankton production and microzooplankton grazing were determined from depth profiles of dilution incubations analyzed by flow cytometry and pigments; mesozooplankton biomass and grazing were determined from net sampling and gut fluorescence for the integrated euphotic zone. Phytoplankton biomass varied from 860 to 1740 mg C m−2, averaging 1187 mg C m−2 with no latitudinal trend. Mixed-layer C:Chla ranged from 20 to 40 in the nitrogen-rich subtropical front to 100–180 in tropical waters. Prochlorococcus increased from 141 to 915 mg C m−2 between 39.5°S and 20°S and averaged 700 mg C m−2 at lower latitudes. Synechococcus and photosynthetic eukaryotes contributed least to biomass (3.6 and 30.5%, respectively) at mid-transect locations (15.5–27.5°S). Dinoflagellates and diatoms were typically rare (28 and 6 mg C m−2, respectively). Among heterotrophs, bacteria averaged 476 mg C m−2, with a subtropical front maximum but no latitudinal trend; ciliates averaged 112 mg C m−2, and mesozooplankton increased significantly south-to-north (131–488 mg C m−2). Phytoplankton production and grazing averaged 466 and 461 mg C m−2 d−1, respectively, based on the sums for flow-cytometry measured populations, and 618 and 604 mg C m−2 d−1, respectively, based on Chla-determined rates. Our results highlight key relationships that link stocks and process rates across oceanographic provinces of the eastern IO. Production and grazing increased 6–8 fold from south to north. Prochlorococcus dominated productivity, and microzooplankton accounted for 85–89% of grazing. Production and grazing were strongly coupled and balanced on average. Over the transect, increasing growth conditions (light and temperature) mainly manifested as more rapid biomass turnover and mesozooplankton biomass accumulation.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Environmental and Conservation Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2022 The Authors.
United Nations SDGs: Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
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