By measuring a broad suite of physical, chemical, and biological parameters coupled with experiments on grazing efficiency of mesozoo-, microzoo- and heteronano-plankton we were able to depict the seasonal trophic status of the pelagic system in the Gulf of Trieste over a period of 8 years from 1998 to 2005. In winter and spring, primary production exceeded respiration, the autotrophic fraction biomass was higher than the heterotrophic biomass. Moreover, predation on microphytoplankton and autotrophic nanoplankton largely structured the ecosystem and bacterial carbon production accounted for <50% of primary production. The ratio of primary production/respiration was higher than 1 in winter and spring suggesting that pelagic ecosystem was autotrophic whereas in summer and in autumn the ratio was lower than 1 suggesting a shift towards net heterotrophic status. Carbon export was possible in winter and in autumn, and the few data from the sediment trap supported the theoretical rates. Thus since spring most of the C fixed by photosynthesis remained segregated in the surface layer and possibly it was exported to the bottom through grazer fecal pellets. In summer the system was dominated by heterotrophic picoplankton, which showed the highest production rate. In this scenario we hypothesize that the DOC produced during the winter-spring period can sustain a high and active bacterial biomass that is the primary energy source for the whole system. Picoplankton communities were heavily grazed by microzooplankton and heteronano-plankton, moreover predation rates of mesozooplankton on microzooplankton were particularly high in summer. Despite the high variability typical of the coastal areas, the pelagic ecosystem during these 8 years has shifted seasonally from a nutrient-excited state (winterespring) to a background state (summereautumn) as it has been observed from open-ocean ecosystem. Understanding the dynamic and the magnitude of this variability-shift is rather compelling in order to give guidance in managing the Gulf area in the context of CO2 sequestration mitigation programs (carbon export downward flux) as well as for fishery economy.

Carbon fluxes in the pelagic ecosystem of the Gulf of Trieste (Northern Adriatic Sea)

FONDA, SERENA;MALFATTI, FRANCESCA
2012

Abstract

By measuring a broad suite of physical, chemical, and biological parameters coupled with experiments on grazing efficiency of mesozoo-, microzoo- and heteronano-plankton we were able to depict the seasonal trophic status of the pelagic system in the Gulf of Trieste over a period of 8 years from 1998 to 2005. In winter and spring, primary production exceeded respiration, the autotrophic fraction biomass was higher than the heterotrophic biomass. Moreover, predation on microphytoplankton and autotrophic nanoplankton largely structured the ecosystem and bacterial carbon production accounted for <50% of primary production. The ratio of primary production/respiration was higher than 1 in winter and spring suggesting that pelagic ecosystem was autotrophic whereas in summer and in autumn the ratio was lower than 1 suggesting a shift towards net heterotrophic status. Carbon export was possible in winter and in autumn, and the few data from the sediment trap supported the theoretical rates. Thus since spring most of the C fixed by photosynthesis remained segregated in the surface layer and possibly it was exported to the bottom through grazer fecal pellets. In summer the system was dominated by heterotrophic picoplankton, which showed the highest production rate. In this scenario we hypothesize that the DOC produced during the winter-spring period can sustain a high and active bacterial biomass that is the primary energy source for the whole system. Picoplankton communities were heavily grazed by microzooplankton and heteronano-plankton, moreover predation rates of mesozooplankton on microzooplankton were particularly high in summer. Despite the high variability typical of the coastal areas, the pelagic ecosystem during these 8 years has shifted seasonally from a nutrient-excited state (winterespring) to a background state (summereautumn) as it has been observed from open-ocean ecosystem. Understanding the dynamic and the magnitude of this variability-shift is rather compelling in order to give guidance in managing the Gulf area in the context of CO2 sequestration mitigation programs (carbon export downward flux) as well as for fishery economy.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11368/2635784
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