Phytoplankton of an ice-edge bloom in the Ross Sea, with special reference to the elemental composition of Antarctic diatoms Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/6395wb72t

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  • A phytoplankton bloom dominated by the pennate diatom Nitzschia curta (Van Heurck) Hasle was observed during January-February 1983 at a receding ice-edge in the Western Ross Sea, Antarctica. The core of the bloom was found between 100-150 Km from the ice-edge. Nitzschia curta cell densities up to 22 x 10⁶ cells/1 were observed. The nanoplankton contributed to 18% (average) of the total biomass. The contribution of another pennate diatom, Nitzschia closterium (Ehrenberg) W. Smith, was significant in two offshore stations (22% and 90%). Other diatom species, dinoflagellates and other phytoplankton groups were very few in number. A wind-driven upwelling event occurred along the ice-edge. The presence of off-shore species (e.g. Nitzschia kerguelensis) close to the ice suggests the existence of an eddy circulation. Results of elemental composition experiments with 10 Antarctic diatoms showed that the C:Si:N ratio for Antarctic diatoms, when compared to the Redfield-Richards ratio for diatoms of other environments, have less carbon and more silicon per unit nitrogen. Comparison of laboratory results with the field data confirms the anomalous elemental composition of the major bloom species observed in the Ross Sea. Blooms like the one observed in this study seem to be restricted to the Western part of the Ross Sea and appear to be produced in inshore waters late in the austral summer.
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