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Environmental controls on Emiliania huxleyi morphotypes in the Benguela coastal upwelling system (SE Atlantic)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
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2012 (English)In: Marine Ecology Progress Series, ISSN 0171-8630, E-ISSN 1616-1599, Vol. 448, 51-66 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Two distinct morphotypes of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi were observed as part of the phytoplankton succession offshore of Namibia, where coastal upwelling created strong gradients in sea surface temperature (SST), salinity, and nutrient conditions. The sampled surface waters hosted a characteristic succession of phytoplankton communities: diatoms bloomed in newly upwelled waters above the shelf, whereas dense coccolithophore communities dominated by E. huxleyi were found farther offshore, in progressively aging upwelled waters. A substantially calcified E. huxleyi morphotype (labeled Type A*) dominated plankton assemblages at stations influenced by upwelling, that immediately succeeded coastal diatom blooms. This morphotype caused a chlorophyll and 19'-hexanoyloxyfucoxanthin (19'-HF) maximum with >1 x 10(6) cells l(-1), straddling a pycnocline at 17 m depth where the in situ N:P ratio was approximate to 13. Farther offshore, within <20 nautical miles distance, populations of Type A* drastically declined, and a more delicate morphotype with thin distal shield elements and open central area (Type B/C) was found. This morphotype was most abundant (similar to 0.2 x 10(6) cells l(-1)) in high-phosphate, nitrogen-depleted surface waters (N:P approximate to 8), where it co-existed with other coccolithophores, most notably Syracosphaera spp. Extensive surface blooms of coccolithophores observed by satellites in the same region in the past were identified by microscopy as being produced by E. huxleyi and S. pulchra. However, blooms of E. huxleyi at greater depths in the euphotic zone, such as those observed in this study, will go undetected by satellites and thus underestimate coccolithophore biomass and calcification within upwelling regions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 448, 51-66 p.
Keyword [en]
Emiliania huxleyi, Morphology, Ecology, Plankton succession, Coastal upwelling, Namibia
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-171493DOI: 10.3354/meps09535ISI: 000300661800005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-171493DiVA: diva2:511246
Available from: 2012-03-20 Created: 2012-03-20 Last updated: 2015-05-26

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Henderiks, Jorijntje
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