Original Paper

Biogeochemistry

, Volume 83, Issue 1, pp 173-188

First online:

The influence of Phaeocystis globosa on microscale spatial patterns of chlorophyll a and bulk-phase seawater viscosity

  • L. SeurontAffiliated withCNRS FRE 2816 ELICO, Station Marine de Wimereux, University of Sciences and Technologies of Lille-Lille 1School of Biological Sciences, Flinders University Email author 
  • , C. LachezeAffiliated withCNRS FRE 2816 ELICO, Station Marine de Wimereux, University of Sciences and Technologies of Lille-Lille 1
  • , M. J. DoubellAffiliated withSchool of Biological Sciences, Flinders University
  • , J. R. SeymourAffiliated withDepartment of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • , V. Van Dongen-VogelsAffiliated withMarine Biology Laboratory, Catholic University of Louvain
  • , K. NewtonAffiliated withSchool of Biological Sciences, Flinders University
  • , A. C. AlderkampAffiliated withDepartment of Marine Biology, University of Groningen
  • , J. G. MitchellAffiliated withSchool of Biological Sciences, Flinders University

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Abstract

A two-dimensional microscale (5 cm resolution) sampler was used over the course of a phytoplankton spring bloom dominated by Phaeocystis globosa to investigate the structural properties of chlorophyll a and seawater excess viscosity distributions. The microscale distribution patterns of chlorophyll a and excess viscosity were never uniform nor random. Instead they exhibited different types and levels of aggregated spatial patterns that were related to the dynamics of the bloom. The chlorophyll a and seawater viscosity correlation patterns were also controlled by the dynamics of the bloom with positive and negative correlations before and after the formation of foam in the turbulent surf zone. The ecological relevance and implications of the observed patchiness and biologically induced increase in seawater viscosity are discussed and the combination of the enlarged colonial form and mucus secretion is suggested as a competitive advantage of P. globosa in highly turbulent environments where this species flourishes.

Keywords

Eastern English Channel Patchiness Phaeocystic globosa Plankton rheology Turbulence