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Journal of Plankton Research

Year: 2010  |  Volume: 32  |  Issue: 2  |  Page No.: 197 - 208

Effects of small-scale turbulence on lower trophic levels under different nutrient conditions

K Rokkan Iversen, R Primicerio, A Larsen, J. K Egge, F Peters, O Guadayol, A Jacobsen, H Havskum and C. Marrase

Abstract

Small-scale turbulence affects the pelagic food web and energy flow in marine systems and the impact is related to nutrient conditions and the assemblage of organisms present. We generated five levels of turbulence (2*10–9 to 1*10–4 W kg–1) in land-based mesocosms (volume 2.6 m3) with and without additional nutrients (31:16:1 Si:N:P µM) to asses the effect of small-scale turbulence on the lower part of the pelagic food web under different nutrient conditions. The ecological influence of nutrients and small-scale turbulence on lower trophic levels was quantified using multivariate statistics (RDA), where nutrients accounted for 31.8% of the observed biological variation, while 7.2% of the variation was explained by small-scale turbulence and its interaction with nutrients. Chlorophyll a, primary production rates, bacterial production rates and diatom and dinoflagellate abundance were positively correlated to turbulence, regardless of nutrient conditions. Abundance of autotrophic flagellates, total phytoplankton and bacteria were positively correlated to turbulence only when nutrients were added. Impact of small-scale turbulence was related to nutrient conditions, with implications for oligotrophic and eutrophic situations. The effect on community level was also different compared to single species level. Microbial processes drive biogeochemical cycles, and nutrient-controlled effects of small-scale turbulence on such processes are relevant to foresee altered carbon flow in marine systems.

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