Inter-annual variability of transparent exopolymer particles in the Arctic Ocean reveals high sensitivity to ecosystem changes


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Katja.Metfies [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

Transparent exopolymer particles (TEP) are a class of marine gel particles and important links between surface ocean biology and atmospheric processes. Derived from marine microorganisms, these particles can facilitate the biological pumping of carbon dioxide to the deep sea, or act as cloud condensation and ice nucleation particles in the atmosphere. Yet, environmental controls on TEP abundance in the ocean are poorly known. Here, we investigated some of these controls during the first multiyear time-series on TEP abundance for the Fram Strait, the Atlantic gateway to the Central Arctic Ocean. Data collected at the Long-Term Ecological Research observatory HAUSGARTEN during 2009 to 2014 indicate a strong biological control with highest abundance co-occurring with the prymnesiophyte Phaeocystis pouchetii. Higher occurrence of P. pouchetii in the Arctic Ocean has previously been related to northward advection of warmer Atlantic waters, which is expected to increase in the future. Our study highlights the role of plankton key species in driving climate relevant processes; thus, changes in plankton distribution need to be accounted for when estimating the ocean's biogeochemical response to global change.



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ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
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Published
Eprint ID
45628
DOI 10.1038/s41598-017-04106-9

Cite as
Engel, A. , Piontek, J. , Metfies, K. , Endres, S. , Peeken, I. , Gäbler-Schwarz, S. and Nöthig, E. M. (2017): Inter-annual variability of transparent exopolymer particles in the Arctic Ocean reveals high sensitivity to ecosystem changes , Scientific Reports, 7 (4129) . doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-04106-9


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