The influence of nitrogen inputs on biomass and trophic structure of ocean plankton: a study using biomass and stable isotope size-spectra

Carmen Mompeán, Antonio Bode, Mikel Latasa, Bieito Fernández-Castro, Beatriz Mouriño-Carballido, Xabier Irigoien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Large scale patterns in planktonic food web structure were studied by applying continuous size-scaled models of biomass and δ15N to plankton samples, collected at 145 stations during the Malaspina-2010 Expedition across three ocean basins and including major biomes. Carbon biomass and δ15N were determined in size-fractionated samples (40 to 5000 μm) collected by vertical hauls (0–200 m). Biomass-normalized size-spectra were constructed to summarize food web structure and spatial patterns in spectral parameters were analyzed using geographically-weighted regression analysis. Except in the northwestern Atlantic, size-spectra showed low variability, reflecting a homogeneity in nitrogen sources and food web structure for the central oceans. Estimated predator-to-prey mass ratios 20% (Trades and Westerlies biomes) suggested that oceanic plankton food webs may support a larger number of trophic levels than current estimates based on high efficiency values. The largest changes in spectral parameters and nitrogen sources were related to inputs of atmospheric nitrogen, either from diazotrophic organisms or dust deposition. These results suggest geographic homogeneity in the net transfer of nitrogen up the food web.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1163-1177
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Plankton Research
Volume38
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 16 2016
Externally publishedYes

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