Plankton Community Metabolism in Western Australia: Estuarine, Coastal and Oceanic Surface Waters

Lara S. Garcia-Corral, Carlos M. Duarte, Susana Agusti

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5 Scopus citations


Net community production (NCP) is a community level process informing on the balance between production and consumption, determining the role of plankton communities in carbon and nutrient balances fueling the marine food web. An assessment of net and gross community production (NCP, GPP) and community respiration (CR) in 86 surface plankton communities sampled between 15° and 36° South along coastal Western Australia (WA) revealed a prevalence of net autotrophic metabolism (GPP/CR > 1), comprising 81% of the communities sampled. NCP, GPP, and CR decreased with decreasing nutrient and chlorophyll-a concentrations, from estuarine, to coastal and oceanic waters. CR, standardized per unit chlorophyll-a, increased with temperature, with higher activation energies (Ea) than GPP per unit chlorophyll-a (Ea 1.07 ± 0.18 eV and 0.65 ± 0.15 eV, respectively) either across ecosystem types and for coastal and estuary communities alone, indicating plankton CR to increase much faster with warming than GPP. These results characterize surface plankton communities across Western Australia as CO2 sinks, the stronger thermal-dependence of respiration that gross primary production rates suggests that their role may weaken with future warming.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFrontiers in Marine Science
StatePublished - Jan 8 2021

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-02-02
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): BAS/1/1072-01-01
Acknowledgements: We thank María Comesaña and Lorena Vigoya for their assistance with sampling. We also thank the helpful Schmidt Ocean Institute crew on board the RV/Falkor and the patient crew from the RV/Solander from the Australian Institute of Marine Science, as well as the RV/Hespérides crew and all participants of the Malaspina Expedition 2010. Funding. This research was funded by the Australian Research Council’s Discovery Project (project number DP140100825) and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) baseline funding BAS/1/1072-01-01 to SA. The Malaspina Expedition 2010 was funded by the INGENIO 2010 CONSOLIDER program (ref.CDS2008-00077) of the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. LSG-C was supported by a Juan de la Cierva Fellowship funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities developed at the King Juan Carlos University of Madrid, Spain.


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