Plankton dynamics and biogeochemical fluxes in the Costa Rica Dome: introduction to the CRD Flux and Zinc Experiments

TitlePlankton dynamics and biogeochemical fluxes in the Costa Rica Dome: introduction to the CRD Flux and Zinc Experiments
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsLandry MR, de Verneil A., Goes J.I, Moffett J.W
JournalJournal of Plankton Research
Date Published2016/03
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0142-7873
Accession NumberWOS:000372874300001
Keywordsarabian sea; community; community structure; eastern tropical pacific; equatorial; Food web; high-nutrient; Iron; limitation; ocean; pacific; structure; Synechococcus; Trophic; upwelling dome; variability

The Costa Rica Dome (CRD) is an open-ocean upwelling system in the Eastern Tropical Pacific that overlies the ocean's largest oxygen minimum zone (OMZ). The region has unique characteristics, biomass dominance by picophytoplankton, suppressed diatoms, high biomass of higher consumers and presumptive trace metal limitation, but is poorly understood in terms of pelagic stock and process relationships, including productivity and production controls. Here, we describe the goals, project design, physical context and major findings of the Flux and Zinc Experiments cruise conducted in June-July 2010 to assess trophic flux relationships and elemental controls on phytoplankton in the CRD. Despite sampling during a year of suppressed summertime surface chlorophyll, cruise results show high productivity (similar to 1 g C m(-2) day(-1)), high new production relative to export, balanced production and grazing, disproportionate biomass-specific productivity of large phytoplankton and high zooplankton stocks. Zinc concentrations are low in surface waters relative to phosphorous and silicate in other regions, providing conditions conducive to picophytoplankton, like Synechococcus, with low Zn requirements. Experiments nonetheless highlight phytoplankton limitation or co-limitation by silicic acid, driven by a strong silica pump that is linked to low dissolution of biogenic silica in the cold shallow thermocline of the lower euphotic zone.

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