Estuaries and Coasts

, Volume 41, Issue 7, pp 2039–2055 | Cite as

Pico- and Nanophytoplankton Dynamics in Two Coupled but Contrasting Coastal Bays in the NW Mediterranean Sea (France)

  • Floriane Delpy
  • Bruno Serranito
  • Jean-Louis Jamet
  • Gérald Grégori
  • Christophe Le Poupon
  • Dominique Jamet


Due to its ecological context, the Toulon bay represents a site of scientific interest to study temporal plankton distribution, particularly pico- and nanophytoplankton dynamics. A monthly monitoring was performed during a two-year cycle (October 2013–December 2015) at two coupled sampling sites, referred to as Little and Large bays, which had different morphometric characteristics and human pressures. Flow cytometry analyses highlighted the fact that pico- and nanophytoplankton were more abundant in the eutrophic Little bay. Furthermore, it evidenced two community structures across the Toulon bays: at times, a co-dominance of picoeukaryotes, nanoeukaryotes, Synechococcus 1-like cells and Prochlorococcus-like cells was found, and at other times, a Synechococcus 1-like dominated community existed. The alternation of one structure or the other can be explained by a combined action of temperature regime, nutrient conditions and degree of contamination. This study showed that pico- and nanophytoplankton dynamics were mainly driven by temperature in both sites, as in other temperate Mediterranean regions. Thus, the community was mainly composed of picoeukaryotes and Prochlorococcus-like cells in the winter (< 15 °C), while it was dominated by Synechococcus 1-like cells in the summer (> 20 °C). Additionally, the multiple human stressors in the Little bay seemed to affect the increase in abundance of Synechococcus 1-like cells as they were preferentially observed in the Large bay.


Pico- and nanophytoplankton Flow cytometry Coastal environments Mediterranean Sea Spatiotemporal distribution 



This research was financed by in-house funding from the EBMA (Marine Ecology and Biology) research team (PROTEE laboratory EA 3819, University of Toulon, France). We are grateful to the Regional Flow Cytometry Platform for Microbiology (PRECYM) of the Mediterranean Institute of Oceanography (MIO UM 110, Aix-Marseille University, France) for their support concerning the arrangement of our flow cytometry protocols and sample preparation. The authors thank Jingwei YANG (PhD) for help in implementing flow cytometry in the laboratory, as well as the two anonymous reviewers that provided helpful comments on the earlier draft of this manuscript.


This research was financed by in-house funding from the EBMA (Marine Ecology and Biology) research team (PROTEE laboratory EA 3819, University of Toulon, France).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Floriane Delpy declares that she has no conflict of interest. Bruno Serranito declares that he has no conflict of interest. Jean-Louis Jamet declares that he has no conflict of interest. Gérald Gregori declares that he has no conflict of interest. Christophe Le Poupon declares that he has no conflict of interest. Dominique Jamet declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Université de Toulon, Laboratoire PROTEE EA 3819, CS 60584Toulon, cedex 09France
  2. 2.Université de Toulon, Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS/INSU, IRD, MIO UM 110, Mediterranean Institute of OceanographyLa GardeFrance
  3. 3.Aix-Marseille Université, Université de Toulon, CNRS/INSU, IRD, MIO UM 110, Mediterranean Institute of OceanographyMarseilleFrance

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