Biogeochemistry

, Volume 98, Issue 1–3, pp 101–113

Pelagic community respiration on the continental shelf off Georgia, USA

  • Li-Qing Jiang
  • Wei-Jun Cai
  • Yongchen Wang
  • Julia Diaz
  • Patricia L. Yager
  • Xinping Hu
Article

Abstract

The South Atlantic Bight (SAB) has been a focus for the study of continental shelf ecosystem respiration during the past two decades. However, two questions concerning respiration in this area have yet to be answered. First, why do previous estimates of respiration in the SAB exceed measured carbon fixation rates by almost an order of magnitude? Second, considering that bacteria are responsible for most of the pelagic community respiration in the SAB, why is respiration almost uniform from the coastline to the shelf break, while bacterial production estimates decrease offshore? This study addresses these critical questions by presenting new pelagic community respiration data that were collected across the entire width of the continental shelf off Georgia, USA from June 2003 to May 2006. The respiration was calculated as in vitro changes of dissolved oxygen and dissolved inorganic carbon concentrations during deck incubations. The measured respiration rates ranged from 0.3(±0.1) to 21.2(±1.4) mmol m−3 day−1. They followed a clear seasonal pattern, being lowest over the entire shelf in winter and reaching maxima in summer. Summertime respiration rates were highest on the inner shelf and decreased with distance offshore. Consistent with this trend, bacterial abundance measurements taken during the sampling month of July 2005 followed a pattern of seaward decline. The SAB organic carbon fluxes calculated from the respiration data are close to the estimates for primary production, which resolves a long-standing mystery regarding perceived carbon imbalance in the SAB.

Keywords

Respiration Continental shelf Southeastern United States South Atlantic Bight Bacteria Organic carbon flux 

Abbreviations

BOD

Biochemical oxygen demand

CFZ

Coastal frontal zone

DIC

Dissolved inorganic carbon

DO

Dissolved oxygen

pCO2

Partial pressure of carbon dioxide

RQ

Respiratory quotient

SAB

South Atlantic Bight

SSS

Sea surface salinity

SST

Sea surface temperature

References

  1. Arístegui J, Harrison WG (2002) Decoupling of primary production and community respiration in the ocean: implications for regional carbon studies. Aquat Microb Ecol 29:199–209CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Atkinson LP, Yoder JA, Lee TN (1984) Review of upwelling off the southeastern United States and its effect on continental-shelf nutrient concentrations and primary productivity. Rapp P–v Cons Int Explor Mer 183:70–78Google Scholar
  3. Blanton JO (1981) Ocean currents along a nearshore frontal zone on the continental shelf of the southeastern United States. J Phys Oceanogr 11:1627–1637CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cai W-J, Wang Y (1998) The chemistry, fluxes, and sources of carbon dioxide in the estuarine waters of the Satilla and Altamaha Rivers, Georgia. Limnol Oceanogr 43:657–668Google Scholar
  5. Chen C–C, Chiang K-P, Gong G-C, Shiah F-K, Tseng C-M, Liu KK (2006) Importance of planktonic community respiration on the carbon balance of the East China Sea in summer. Global Biogeochem Cycles 20:GB4001. doi:10.1029/2005GB002647 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. DeAlteris JA (2007) Elemental and isotopic characterization of organic matter and carbon in the South Atlantic Bight. Dissertation, College of William & MaryGoogle Scholar
  7. del Giorgio PA, Williams PJ (2005) Respiration in aquatic ecosystems. Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Griffith PC, Pomeroy LR (1995) Seasonal and spatial variations in pelagic community respiration on the southeastern US continental shelf. Cont Shelf Res 15:815–825CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Griffith PC, Douglas DJ, Wainright SC (1990) Metabolic activity of size-fractionated microbial plankton in estuarine, nearshore, and continental shelf waters of Georgia. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 59:263–270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hanson RB, Robertson CY, Yoder JA, Verity PG, Bishop SS (1990) Nitrogen recycling in coastal waters of southeastern U.S. during summer 1986. J Mar Res 48:641–660Google Scholar
  11. Hopkinson CS (1985) Shallow-water benthic and pelagic metabolism: evidence of heterotrophy in the nearshore Georgia Bight. Mar Biol 87:19–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hopkinson CS, Smith EM (2005) Estuarine respiration: an overview of benthic, pelagic, and whole system respiration. In: del Giorgio PA, Williams PJ (eds) Respiration in aquatic ecosystems. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  13. Hopkinson CS, Sherr B, Wiebe WJ (1989) Size fractionated metabolism of coastal microbial plankton. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 51:155–166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Jahnke RA, Craven DB (1995) Quantifying the role of heterotrophic bacteria in the carbon cycle: a need for respiration rate measurements. Limnol Oceanogr 40:436–441Google Scholar
  15. Jahnke RA, Nelson JR, Marinelli RL, Eckman JE (2000) Benthic flux of biogenic elements on the Southeastern US continental shelf: influence of pore water advective transport and benthic microalgae. Cont Shelf Res 20:109–127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jahnke RA, Richards M, Nelson J, Robertson C, Rao A, Jahnke D (2005) Organic matter remineralization and porewater exchange rates in permeable South Atlantic Bight continental shelf sediments. Cont Shelf Res 25:1433–1452CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Jiang L-Q, Cai W-J, Wanninkhof R, Wang Y, Lüger H (2008a) Air-sea CO2 fluxes on the U.S. South Atlantic Bight: spatial and seasonal variability. J Geophys Res 113:C07019. doi:10.1029/2007JC004366 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jiang L-Q, Cai W-J, Wang Y (2008b) A comparative study of carbon dioxide degassing in river- and marine-dominated estuaries. Limnol Oceanogr 53:2603–2615Google Scholar
  19. Jiang L-Q, Cai W-J, Wang Y, Bauer JE (2009) Controlling mechanisms of carbon dioxide on the U.S. South Atlantic Bight. J Geophys Res (in review)Google Scholar
  20. Karl DM, Morris PJ, Williams PJ, Emerson S (2003) Metabolic balance of the open sea. Nature 426:32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. La Ferla R, Azzaro M, Maimone G (2006) Microbial respiration and trophic regimes in the Northern Adriatic Sea (Mediterranean Sea). Est Coast Shelf Sci 69:196–204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Labasque T, Chaumery C, Aminot A, Kergoat G (2004) Spectrophotometric Winkler determination of dissolved oxygen: re-examination of critical factors and reliability. Mar Chem 88:53–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lee TN, Yoder JA, Atkinson LP (1991) Gulf Stream frontal eddy influence on productivity of the southeast U.S. continental shelf. J Geophys Res 96:22191–22205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Maixandeau A, Lefèvre D, Fernández IC, Sempèrè R, Sohrin R, Ras J, van Wambeke F, Caniaux G, Quèguiner B (2005) Mesoscale and seasonal variability of community production and respiration in the surface waters of the N.E. Atlantic Ocean. Deep-Sea Res I 52:1663–1676CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. McKinnon AD, Carleton JH, Duggan S (2007) Pelagic production and respiration in the Gulf of Papua during May 2004. Cont Shelf Res 27:1643–1655CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Menzel DW (1993) Ocean processes: U. S. southeast continental shelf. US Department of Energy, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  27. Michelou VK, Cottrell MT, Kirchman DL (2007) Light-stimulated bacterial production and amino acid assimilation by cyanobacteria and other microbes in the North Atlantic Ocean. Appl Environ Microbiol 73:5539–5546CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Moran MA, Pomeroy LR, Sheppard ES, Atkinson LP, Hodson RE (1991) Distribution of terrestrial derived dissolved organic matter on the southeastern U.S. continental shelf. Limnol Oceanogr 36:1134–1149Google Scholar
  29. Morán G, Pérez V, Fernández E (2007) Mismatch between community respiration and the contribution of heterotrophic bacteria in the NE Atlantic open ocean: what causes high respiration in oligotrophic waters? J Mar Res 65:545–560CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Nelson JR, Eckman JE, Robertson CY, Marinelli RL, Jahnke RA (1999) Benthic microalgal biomass and irradiance at the sea floor on the continental shelf of the South Atlantic Bight: spatial and temporal variability and storm effects. Cont Shelf Res 19:477–505CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Pai S-C, Gong G-C, Liu K-K (1993) Determination of dissolved oxygen in seawater by direct spectrophotometry of total iodine. Mar Chem 41:343–351CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Pamatmat MM (1997) Non-photosynthetic oxygen production and non-respiratory oxygen uptake in the dark: a theory of oxygen dynamics in plankton communities. Mar Biol 129:735–746CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Pomeroy LR (1985) The microbial food web of the southeastern U.S. continental shelf. In: Atkinson LP, Menzel DW, Bush KA (eds) Oceanography of the southeastern U.S. continental shelf. American Geophysical Union, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  34. Pomeroy LR, Atkinson LP, Blanton JO, Campbell WB, Jacobsen TR, Kerrick KH, Wood AM (1983) Microbial distribution and abundance in response to physical and biological processes on the continental shelf of southeastern U.S.A. Cont Shelf Res 2:1–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Pomeroy LR, Sheldon JE, Sheldon WM (1994) Changes in bacterial numbers and leucine assimilation during estimations of microbial respiration rates in seawater by the precision winkler method. Appl Environ Microbiol 60:328–332Google Scholar
  36. Pomeroy LR, Sheldon JE, Sheldon WM, Blanton JO, Amft J, Peters F (2000) Seasonal changes in microbial processes in estuarine and continental shelf waters of the south-eastern U.S.A. Est Coast Shelf Sci 51:415–428CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Robinson C, Williams PJ (2005) Respiration and its measurement in surface marine waters. In: del Giorgio PA, Williams PJ (eds) Respiration in aquatic ecosystems. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  38. Robinson C, Serret P, Tilstone G, Teira E, Zubkov MV, Rees AP, Woodward MS (2002) Plankton respiration in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean. Deep-Sea Res I 49:787–813Google Scholar
  39. Steemann-Nielsen E (1952) The use of radioactive carbon (C14) for measuring organic production in the sea. J Cons Int Explor Mer 18:117–140Google Scholar
  40. Verity PG, Bishop SS, Nelson JR, Craven DB, Blanton JO, Robertson CY, Tronzo CR (1993) Composition, productivity, and nutrient chemistry of a coastal ocean planktonic food web. Cont Shelf Res 13:741–776CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Williams PJ, del Giorgio PA (2005) Respiration in aquatic ecosystems: history and background. In: del Giorgio PA, Williams PJ (eds) Respiration in aquatic ecosystems. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  42. Wollast R (1998) Evaluation and comparison of the global carbon cycle in the coastal zone and the open ocean. In: Brink KH, Robinson AR (eds) The sea. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  43. Yager PL, Connelly TL, Mortazavi B, Wommack KE, Bano N, Bauer JE, Opsahl S, Hollibaugh JT (2001) Dynamic bacterial and viral response to an algal bloom at subzero temperatures. Limnol Oceanogr 46:790–801CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Yoder JA (1985) Environmental control of phytoplankton production on the southeastern U.S. continental shelf. In: Atkinson LP, Menzel DW, Bush KA (eds) Oceanography of the southeastern U.S. continental shelf. American Geophysical Union, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  45. Yoder JA, Atkinson LP, Bishop SS, Blanton JO, Lee TN, Pietrafesa LJ (1985) Phytoplankton dynamics within Gulf Stream intrusions on the southeastern United States continental shelf during summer 1981. Cont Shelf Res 4:611–635CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Yoder JA, Verity PG, Bishop SS, Hoge FE (1993) Phytoplankton chl a, primary production, and nutrient distributions across a coastal frontal zone off Georgia, USA. Cont Shelf Res 13:131–141CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Li-Qing Jiang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wei-Jun Cai
    • 1
  • Yongchen Wang
    • 1
  • Julia Diaz
    • 1
    • 3
  • Patricia L. Yager
    • 1
  • Xinping Hu
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Marine SciencesThe University of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  2. 2.National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Climate Program OfficeSilver SpringUSA
  3. 3.School of Earth and Atmospheric SciencesGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA

Personalised recommendations