Polar Biology

, Volume 37, Issue 11, pp 1563–1578 | Cite as

Phytoplankton community composition and photosynthetic physiology in the Australian sector of the Southern Ocean during the austral summer of 2010/2011

  • Shintaro TakaoEmail author
  • Toru Hirawake
  • Gen Hashida
  • Hiroshi Sasaki
  • Hiroshi Hattori
  • Koji Suzuki
Original Paper


Phytoplankton population dynamics play an important role in biogeochemical cycles in the Southern Ocean during austral summer. However, the relationship between phytoplankton community composition and primary productivity remains elusive in this region. We investigated the community composition and photosynthetic physiology of surface phytoplankton assemblages in the Australian sector of the Southern Ocean from December 2010 to January 2011. There were significant latitudinal variations in hydrographic and biological parameters along 110°E and 140°E. Surface (5 m) chlorophyll a (chl a) concentrations measured with high-performance liquid chromatography varied between 0.18 and 0.99 mg m−3. The diatom contribution to the surface chl a biomass increased in the south, as estimated with algal chemotaxonomic pigment markers, while the contributions of haptophytes and chlorophytes decreased. In our photosynthesis–irradiance (PE) curve experiment, the maximum photosynthetic rate normalized to chl a (\(P_{ \hbox{max} }^{*}\)), initial slope (α *), the maximum quantum yield of carbon fixation (Φ c max), and the photoinhibition index (β *) were higher in the region where diatoms contributed >50 % to the chl a biomass. In addition, there were statistically significant correlations between the diatom contribution to the chl a biomass and the PE parameters. These results suggested that the changes in the phytoplankton community composition, primarily in diatoms, could strongly affect photosynthetic physiology in the Australian sector of the Southern Ocean.


Phytoplankton community composition Photosynthetic physiology Diatoms FIRe fluorometry Southern Ocean 



We are grateful to the captain and crew of the TR/V Umitaka-Maru, Dr. M. Moteki (Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology), and many other colleagues on board for their assistance in collecting samples during cruises. We thank Dr. T. Odate (National Institute of Polar Research) for giving a chance to join the JARE RAMEEC (Responses of Antarctic Marine Ecosystems to global Environmental Changes with Carbonate systems) project. We also thank the Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC) at the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) for the production and distribution of satellite data. We appreciate the editor, Dr. A.-C. Alderkamp, and two anonymous reviewers for providing valuable comments that improved the manuscript significantly. This work was supported in part by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), the JARE RAMEEC project, and the JAXA GCOM-C RA4 (JX-PSPC-381949).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shintaro Takao
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Toru Hirawake
    • 3
  • Gen Hashida
    • 4
  • Hiroshi Sasaki
    • 5
  • Hiroshi Hattori
    • 6
  • Koji Suzuki
    • 1
    • 2
    • 7
  1. 1.Graduate School of Environmental ScienceHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan
  2. 2.Faculty of Environmental Earth ScienceHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan
  3. 3.Faculty of Fisheries SciencesHokkaido UniversityHakodateJapan
  4. 4.National Institute of Polar ResearchTachikawaJapan
  5. 5.Department of Biological SciencesSenshu University of IshinomakiIshinomakiJapan
  6. 6.Department of Marine Sciences and TechnologyHokkaido Tokai UniversitySapporoJapan
  7. 7.CRESTJapan Science and Technology AgencySapporoJapan

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