Temporal and vertical dynamics of diatoms and dinoflagellates in the southeastern Mediterranean Sea

Eyal Rahav, Ilana Berman-Frank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

The temporal distributions of microphytoplankton were studied monthly over 2 years in the shelf and the offshore waters of the "low nutrients low chlorophyll"(LNLC) southeastern (SE) Mediterranean Sea. The microphytoplankton were comprised mostly of diatoms (0-542 cells L-1, ~4 × 106-44 × 106 cells m-2) of the genera Rhizosolenia, Thalassionema, Chaetoceros, Leptocylindrus and Pseudo-nitzschia, and dinoflagellates (1-89 cells L-1, ~1 × 106-10 × 106 cells m-2) of the genera Tripos (formally known as Ceratium), Ornithocercus, Protoperidinium, Ceratocorys and Dinophysis. During the winter mixing, microphytoplankton abundance was ~2-fold higher than during the stratified summer months, in accordance with the higher inorganic nutrient levels. Diatoms were mostly found in the upper illuminated layers (0-100 m), while dinoflagellate distribution was patchy and spread from surface down to 200 m. We also calculated that diatoms and dinoflagellates contribute negligibly (~4%) to the total vertical carbon flux in the offshore water, suggesting fast recycling of organic matter at the photic layer. Our results provide a baseline to better understand carbon and biogenic silica fluxes at the LNLC SE Mediterranean Sea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)614-624
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Plankton Research
Volume45
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • diatoms
  • dinoflagellates
  • southeastern Mediterranean Sea

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