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Mar Environ Res. 2019 Feb;144:154-165. doi: 10.1016/j.marenvres.2018.12.003. Epub 2018 Dec 21.

The impact of mesoscale eddies on the phytoplankton community in the South Atlantic Ocean: HPLC-CHEMTAX approach.

Author information

1
Laboratório de Estudos dos Oceanos e Clima (LEOC), Instituto de Oceanografia, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande - FURG, Rio Grande, RS, 96203-900, Brazil. Electronic address: andreacarvalho@furg.br.
2
Laboratório de Estudos dos Oceanos e Clima (LEOC), Instituto de Oceanografia, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande - FURG, Rio Grande, RS, 96203-900, Brazil; Laboratório de Fitoplâncton e Microorganismos Marinhos, Instituto de Oceanografia, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande (FURG), Av. Itália km 8, Rio Grande, 96203-900, RS, Brazil. Electronic address: crbmendes@gmail.com.
3
Laboratório de Estudos dos Oceanos e Clima (LEOC), Instituto de Oceanografia, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande - FURG, Rio Grande, RS, 96203-900, Brazil. Electronic address: rodrigokerr@furg.br.
4
Laboratório de Estudos dos Oceanos e Clima (LEOC), Instituto de Oceanografia, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande - FURG, Rio Grande, RS, 96203-900, Brazil. Electronic address: joseazevedo@furg.br.
5
Laboratório de Estudos dos Oceanos e Clima (LEOC), Instituto de Oceanografia, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande - FURG, Rio Grande, RS, 96203-900, Brazil. Electronic address: felippe.gs.fg@gmail.com.
6
Laboratório de Estudos dos Oceanos e Clima (LEOC), Instituto de Oceanografia, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande - FURG, Rio Grande, RS, 96203-900, Brazil; Laboratório de Fitoplâncton e Microorganismos Marinhos, Instituto de Oceanografia, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande (FURG), Av. Itália km 8, Rio Grande, 96203-900, RS, Brazil. Electronic address: virginiatavano@gmail.com.

Abstract

This study describes the pigment-based phytoplankton community within three South Atlantic anticyclonic eddies (at different ages) shed from the Agulhas Current retroflection crossing the South Atlantic Ocean. Seawater samples were collected over these mesoscale structures in June-July 2015 during the Following Ocean Rings in the South Atlantic (FORSA) cruise. Data on phytoplankton pigments, measured with high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), were processed using a chemical taxonomy (CHEMTAX) tool to determine and quantify phytoplankton taxonomic groups. In addition, physical (water column structure) and chemical (macronutrient) parameters were determined and related to the biological data. Our results showed that, in general, the community was composed mostly of small flagellates (haptophytes) and prokaryotes (Prochlorococcus) and that pelagophytes were prominent in the younger eddy. This ring, located in the eastern basin of the South Atlantic Ocean, represented a younger and stronger structure, with no evident deep chlorophyll maximum (DCM) depth and an evenly distributed biomass over a well-mixed upper layer, revealing a more diverse phytoplankton community. The weakened structures of the older western eddies presented a pronounced DCM depth below 100 m and similar phytoplankton community composition patterns marked by enhanced Prochlorococcus contributions but also the important occurrences of haptophytes at the DCM depth and Synechococcus and chlorophytes at the surface. The community distributions in all three structures were associated with the distribution of nutrients and acclimation to light conditions. This study contributes to a better understanding of the phytoplankton distribution and its association with the presence of mesoscale anticyclonic eddies in an undersampled and complex region of the South Atlantic Ocean.

KEYWORDS:

Agulhas leakage; Agulhas rings; Anticyclonic eddies; Phytoplankton pigments

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