Net community production and stoichiometry of nutrient consumption in a pelagic ecosystem of a northern high latitude fjord: mesocosm CO2 perturbation study

Net community production (NCP) and ratios of carbon to nutrient consumption were studied during a large-scale mesocosm experiment on ocean acidification in Kongsfjorden, West Spitsbergen, during June–July 2010. Nutrient-deplete fjord water with natural phyto- and bacteriaplankton assemblages, enclosed in nine mesocosms of ~ 50 m3 volume, was exposed to pCO2levels ranging from 185 to 1420 μatm on initial state. Mean values of pCO2 levels during experiment ranged from 175 to 1085 μatm in different mesocosms. Phytoplankton growth was stimulated by nutrient addition. In this study NCP is estimated as a cumulative change in dissolved inorganic carbon concentrations. Stoichiometric couping between inorganic carbon and nutrient is shown as a ratio of a cumulative NCP to a cumulative change in inorganic nutrients. Three peaks of chlorophyll a concentration occurred during the experiment. Accordingly the experiment was divided in three phases. Overall cumulative NCP was similar in all mesocosms by the final day of experiment. However, NCP varied among phases, showing variable response to CO2 perturbation. Carbon to nitrogen (C : N) and carbon to phosphorus (C : P) uptake ratios were estimated only for the period after nutrient addition (post-nutrient period). For the total post-nutrient period ratios were close to Redfield proportions, however varied from it in different phases. The response of C : N and C : P uptake ratios to CO2 perturbation was different for three phases of the experiment, reflecting variable NCP and dependence on changing microbial community. Through the variable NCP, C : N and C : P uptake ratios for 31 days of the experiment we show a flexibility of biogeochemical response establishing a strong microbial loop in Kongsfjorden under different CO2 scenarios.

Silyakova A., Bellerby R. G. J., Czerny J., Schulz K. G., Nondal G., Tanaka T., Engel A., De Lange T. & Riebesell, U., 2012. Net community production and stoichiometry of nutrient consumption in a pelagic ecosystem of a northern high latitude fjord: mesocosm CO2 perturbation study. Biogeosciences Discussions 9: 11705-11737. Article.

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