, Volume 92, Issue 1, pp 45-52

Analysis of phytoplankton pigments by HPLC before, during and after mass occurrence of the microflagellate Corymbellus aureus during the spring bloom in the open northern North Sea in 1983

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Daily observations in April and May 1983 near a subsurface drifter launched in the Fladen Grounds area of the North Sea revealed that a large crop of the microflagellate Corymbellus aureus Green, producing up to 3 g C m-2 d-1, succeeded the diatoms dominating during the earlier phase of the spring bloom. The concentration of fucoxanthin was highest during the first half of May, while pigment fingerprints of high-performance liquid chromatograms of suspended matter sampled during the second half of May were dominated by 19′-hexanoyloxyfucoxanthin, the main carotenoid of C. aureus (0.8x10-9 mg cell-1). This colonial Prymnesiophycean was described for the first time less than 10 years ago and has nerver been reported to be present in the North Sea. After 16 May the C. aureus population rapidly lost its growth potential, but the peak of the bloom in terms of cell number was found several days later (up to 9x106 cells per dm3 on 19 May). The population then started to decline; senescence was associated with decreasing pigment contents of cells. The low growth rate of copepods registered during the second half of May was probably related to the poor quality of C. aureus as copepod food: the concentration of a phaeophorbide a typically found in copepod fecal pellets was highest during the diatom phase of the spring bloom preceding the C. aureus bloom.

Communicated by O. Kinne, Oldendorf/Luhe