Base-line variations in stable isotope values in an Arctic marine ecosystem: effects of carbon and nitrogen uptake by phytoplankton
- 439 Downloads
Stable isotope values are useful for elucidating C and N cycling and pathways in marine and aquatic ecosystems. Variations in the base-line isotope values, the δ13C and δ15N values of phytoplankton, put constraints on their usefulness as tracers for trophic interactions and sources of organic matter in food web studies, however. We investigated the C and N stable isotope values of suspended particulate organic matter in relation to uptake of total dissolved inorganic carbon and nitrate, chlorophyll a concentration and the isotope composition of dissolved inorganic carbon in an Arctic marine environment (northern Barents Sea) in order to improve the understanding of factors regulating the variation in stable isotope values at the base of the marine food web. The stable isotope values of water-column suspended particulate organic carbon (δ13Corg) and nitrogen (δ15Norg) varied from −28.3‰ to −20.2‰ and 2.9‰ to 8.3‰, respectively, among stations sampled during spring and summer. δ13Corg was not linearly related to carbon uptake, but the values were on average 3‰ higher at stations in a late-bloom stage, characterised by higher carbon uptake compared to early-bloom stations. Accumulation of phytoplankton biomass had a strong impact on δ13Corg values, reflected in a positive relationship between δ13Corg and chlorophyll a concentration. δ15Norg was positively related to the percentage of nitrate taken up from initial (winter) concentrations. These results indicate a strong relationship between bloom progression and isotope composition of particulate organic C and N pools. Synoptic data on stable isotope compositions, nutrient concentrations and phytoplankton biomass therefore improve the interpretation of isotope values when these are compared across pools with different turnover times, such as phytoplankton and consumers or suspended and sedimentary organic matter.
KeywordsStable isotopes Dissolved inorganic carbon Nitrate Chlorophyll a Phytoplankton Particulate organic carbon and nitrogen
This study was funded through the Norwegian Research Council, NORDKLIMA Programme (CABANERA Project 155936/700), the European Commission within the 6th Framework (EU FP6 CARBOOCEAN Integrated Project, Contract no. 511176), and the US National Science Foundation (OPP-0326371 to PER). We are indebted to the crew of R/V Jan Mayen (University of Tromsø) for assistance during the field campaigns and to U. Ninnemann and W. Breyholtz (Department of Earth Science, University of Bergen) for δ13CDIC analyses. Two anonymous reviewers are kindly acknowledged for comments that improved the quality of this paper.
- Elzenga, J. T. M., H. B. A. Prins & J. Stefels, 2000. The role of extracellular carbonic anhydrase activity in inorganic carbon utilization of Phaeocystis globosa (Prymnesiophyceae): a comparison with other marine algae using the isotopic disequilibrium technique. Limnology and Oceanography 45: 372–380.Google Scholar
- Kivimäe, C., 2007. Carbon and oxygen fluxes in the Barents and Norwegian Seas: Production, air–sea exchange and budget calculations. PhD Thesis, University of Bergen.Google Scholar
- Kristiansen, S., T. Farbrot & P. A. Wheeler, 1994. Nitrogen cycling in the Barents Sea—seasonal dynamics of new and regenerated production in the marginal ice-zone. Limnology and Oceanography 39: 1630–1642.Google Scholar
- O’Reilly, C. M., R. E. Hecky, A. S. Cohen & P. D. Plisnier, 2002. Interpreting stable isotopes in food webs: recognizing the role of time averaging at different trophic levels. Limnology and Oceanography 47: 306–309.Google Scholar
- Olsen, A., A. M. Omar, R. G. J. Bellerby, T. Johannessen, U. Ninnemann, K. R. Brown, K. A. Olsson, J. Olafsson, G. Nondal, C. Kivimäe, S. Kringstad, C. Neill & S. Olafsdottir, 2006. Magnitude and origin of the anthropogenic CO2 increase and 13C Suess effect in the Nordic seas since 1981. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 20: GB3027.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Pennock, J. R., D. J. Velinsky, J. M. Ludlam, J. H. Sharp & M. L. Fogel, 1996. Isotopic fractionation of ammonium and nitrate during uptake by Skeletonema costatum: implications for delta 15N dynamics under bloom conditions. Limnology and Oceanography 41: 451–459.Google Scholar
- Rau, G. H., T. Takahashi, D. J. Desmarais, D. J. Repeta & J. H. Martin, 1992. The relationship between δ13C of organic-matter and [CO2(aq)] in ocean surface water data from a JGOFS site in the northeast Atlantic-ocean and a model. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 56: 1413–1419.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Tamelander, T., P. E. Renaud, H. Hop, M. L. Carroll, W. G. Ambrose & K. A. Hobson Jr, 2006a. Trophic relationships and pelagic-benthic coupling during summer in the Barents Sea Marginal Ice Zone revealed by stable carbon and nitrogen isotope measurements. Marine Ecology Progress Series 310: 33–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Tamelander, T., J. E. Søreide, H. Hop & M. L. Carroll, 2006b. Fractionation of stable isotopes in the arctic marine copepod Calanus glacialis: effects on the isotopic composition of marine particulate organic matter. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 333: 231–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Waser, N. A., K. D. Yin, Z. M. Yu, K. Tada, P. J. Harrison, D. H. Turpin & S. E. Calvert, 1998. Nitrogen isotope fractionation during nitrate, ammonium and urea uptake by marine diatoms and coccolithophores under various conditions of N availability. Marine Ecology Progress Series 169: 29–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar