Modelling the size-abundance spectrum of phytoplankton has proven to be a very useful tool for the analysis of physical-biological coupling and the vertical flux of carbon in oceanic ecosystems at different scales. A frequent observation relates high phytoplankton biovolume in productive regions with flatter spectrum slope and the opposite in oligotrophic ecosystems. Rather than this, the relationship between high biovolume phytoplankton assemblages and flatter size-abundance spectra does not correspond with measurements of the phytoplankton community in the Atlantic Ocean open waters. As part of the Malaspina Circunnavegation Expedition, sixty seven sampling stations within the Atlantic Ocean covering six oceanographic provinces, at different seasons, produced a complete set of phytoplankton size-spectra whose slope and biovolume did not show any obvious interrelation. In these oligotrophic sites, small (procaryotes) and medium-size (nanoplankton) cells are responsible for the most part of biovolume, and their response to environmental conditions does not apply to changes in the size-abundance spectrum slope as expected in richer, large-cell dominated ecosystems.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science