Vertical and horizontal distribution of coccolithophores in the Caribbean Sea
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Coccolithophores are one of the major, living phytoplankton groups and play important roles in geochemical cycles and climate. They are a particularly dominant group in oligotrophic waters, yet a lot more needs to be learned about their horizontal and vertical distributions. Coccolithophores were collected at different photic depths from 15 stations across the Caribbean Sea during cruise 35/1 of the RV Meteor from April to May 1996. A total of 67 species was identified, with an average of 19 species per station. Coccolithophores were encountered at nearly all stations but abundances were fairly low (102–103 cells 1–1). Coccolithophore assemblages in the four oceanographical provinces identified (Granada Basin waters, Atlantic surface waters, northern Caribbean waters, and Pedro Bank waters) differed in their species composition and abundances. Abundance peaks occurred near the surface and in the deeper photic zone (140–150 m) just below the deep chlorophyll-a maximum at the top of the nitrate nutricline.
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