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  • Paczkowska, J.; Rowe, Owen; Schluster, L.; Legrand, C.; Karlson, B.; Andersson, A. (2017)
    It is well-known that nutrients shape phytoplankton communities in marine systems, but in coastal waters allochthonous dissolved organic matter (ADOM) may also be of central importance. We studied how humic substances (proxy of ADOM) and other variables influenced the nutritional strategies, size structure and pigment content of the phytoplankton community along a south-north gradient in the Baltic Sea. During the summer, the proportion of mixotrophs increased gradually from the phosphorus-rich south to the ADOM-rich north, probably due to ADOM-fueled microbes. The opposite trend was observed for autotrophs. The chlorophyll a (Chl a): carbon (C) ratio increased while the levels of photoprotective pigments decreased from south to north, indicating adaptation to the darker humic-rich water in the north. Picocyanobacteria dominated in phosphorusrich areas while nanoplankton increased in ADOM- rich areas. During the winter-spring the phytoplankton biomass and concentrations of photoprotective pigments were low, and no trends with respect to autotrophs and mixotrophs were observed. Microplankton was the dominant size group in the entire study area. We conclude that changes in the size structure of the phytoplankton community, the Chl a: C ratio and the concentrations of photoprotective pigments are indicative of changes in ADOM, a factor of particular importance in a changing climate.
  • Paczkowska, Joanna; Rowe, O.F.; Figueroa, Daniela; Andersson, Agneta (2019)
    The influence of nutrient availability and light conditions on phytoplankton size-structure, nutritional strategy and production were studied in a phosphorus-poor estuary in the northern Baltic Sea receiving humic-rich river water. The relative biomass of mixotrophic nanophytoplankton peaked in spring when heterotrophic bacterial production was high, while autotrophic microphytoplankton had their maximum in summer when primary production displayed highest values. Limiting substance only showed small changes over time, and the day light was at saturating levels all through the study period. We also investigated if the phytoplankton taxonomic richness influences the production. Structured equation modelling indicated that an increase of the taxonomic richness during the warm summer combined with slightly higher phosphorus concentration lead to increased resource use efficiency, which in turn caused higher phytoplankton biomass and primary production. Our results suggest that climate warming would lead to higher primary production in northerly shallow coastal areas, which are influenced by humic-rich river run-off from un-disturbed terrestrial systems.
  • Andersson, A.; Brugel, S.; Paczkowska, J.; Rowe, O.F.; Figueroa, D.; Kratzer, S.; Legrand, C. (2018)
    Phytoplankton and heterotrophic bacteria are key groups at the base of aquatic food webs. In estuaries receiving riverine water with a high content of coloured allochthonous dissolved organic matter (ADOM), phytoplankton primary production may be reduced, while bacterial production is favoured. We tested this hypothesis by performing a field study in a northerly estuary receiving nutrient-poor, ADOM-rich riverine water, and analyzing results using multivariate statistics. Throughout the productive season, and especially during the spring river flush, the production and growth rate of heterotrophic bacteria were stimulated by the riverine inflow of dissolved organic carbon (DOC). In contrast, primary production and photosynthetic efficiency (i.e. phytoplankton growth rate) were negatively affected by DOC. Primary production related positively to phosphorus, which is the limiting nutrient in the area. In the upper estuary where DOC concentrations were the highest, the heterotrophic bacterial production constituted almost 100% of the basal production (sum of primary and bacterial production) during spring, while during summer the primary and bacterial production were approximately equal. Our study shows that riverine DOC had a strong negative influence on coastal phytoplankton production, likely due to light attenuation. On the other hand DOC showed a positive influence on bacterial production since it represents a supplementary food source. Thus, in boreal regions where climate change will cause increased river inflow to coastal waters, the balance between phytoplankton and bacterial production is likely to be changed, favouring bacteria. The pelagic food web structure and overall productivity will in turn be altered. (C) 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.