Microplankton trace element contents: implications for mineral limitation of mesozooplankton in an HNLC area

TitleMicroplankton trace element contents: implications for mineral limitation of mesozooplankton in an HNLC area
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsBaines SB, Chen X, Vogt S, Fisher NS, Twining BS, Landry MR
JournalJournal of Plankton Research
Volume38
Pagination256-270
Date Published2016/03
Abstract

Mesozooplankton production in high-nutrient low-chlorophyll regions of the ocean may be reduced if the trace element concentrations in their food are insufficient to meet growth and metabolic demands. We used elemental microanalysis (SXRF) of single-celled plankton to determine their trace metal contents during a series of semi-Lagrangian drift studies in an HNLC upwelling region, the Costa Rica Dome (CRD). Cells from the surface mixed layer had lower Fe:S but higher Zn:S and Ni:S than those from the subsurface chlorophyll maximum at 22–30 m. Diatom Fe:S values were typically 3-fold higher than those in flagellated cells. The ratios of Zn:C in flagellates and diatoms were generally similar to each other, and to co-occurring mesozooplankton. Estimated Fe:C ratios in flagellates were lower than those in co-occurring mesozooplankton, sometimes by more than 3-fold. In contrast, Fe:C in diatoms was typically similar to that in zooplankton. RNA:DNA ratios in the CRD were low compared with other regions, and were related to total autotrophic biomass and weakly to the discrepancy between Zn:C in flagellated cells and mesozooplankton tissues. Mesozooplankton may have been affected by the trace element content of their food, even though trace metal limitation of phytoplankton was modest at best.

DOI10.1093/plankt/fbv109
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