Seasonal phenology of the heterotrophic dinoflagellate Noctiluca scintillans (Macartney) in Jiaozhou Bay and adjacent coastal Yellow Sea, China
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Seasonal variations in numerical abundance, cell diameter and population carbon biomass of the heterotrophic dinoflagellate Noctiluca scintillans were studied for 10 years from 2004 to 2013 in Jiaozhou Bay and adjacent coastal Yellow Sea, China, and their ecological functions were evaluated. In both areas, N. scintillans occurred throughout the year and demonstrated an essentially similar seasonality; the cell abundance increased rapidly from the winter minimum to an annual peak in late spring and early summer, and decreased gradually toward the autumn-winter minimum. The peak abundance differed by years, and there was no consistent trend in long-term numerical variations. The cell diameter also showed a seasonal fluctuation, being larger in spring and early summer than the other seasons. Estimated carbon biomass of N. scintillans population reached to a peak as high as 90.3 mg C/m3, and occasionally exceed over phytoplankton and copepod biomass. Our results demonstrate that N. scintillans in northwestern Yellow Sea displays the seasonal phenology almost identical to the populations in other temperate regions, and play important trophic roles as a heterotroph to interact with sympatric phytoplankton and copepods.
Keywordcell size biomass copepods phytoplankton ZooScan
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We sincerely thank Prof. S. Uye, Hiroshima University, for investing his time and effort in revising this manuscript. We are grateful for all the staff of Jiaozhou Bay Marine Ecosystem Research Station for their valuable helps with field work and collecting the samples. Thanks are due also to the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions on the manuscript.
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