Direct linkage between DMS production and microzooplankton grazing resulting from prey composition change under high pCO2 conditions

Oceanic dimethylsulfide (DMS) is the enzymatic cleavage product of the algal metabolite dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) and is the most abundant form of sulfur released into the atmosphere. To investigate the effects of two emerging environmental threats (ocean acidification and warming) on marine DMS production, we performed a large-scale perturbation experiment in a coastal environment. At both ambient temperature and 2°C warmer, an increase in partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2) in seawater (160–840 ppmv pCO2) favored the growth of large diatoms, which outcompeted other phytoplankton species in a natural phytoplankton assemblage and reduced the growth rate of smaller, DMSP-rich phototrophic dinoflagellates. This decreased the grazing rate of heterotrophic dinoflagellates (ubiquitous micrograzers), resulting in reduced DMS production via grazing activity. Both the magnitude and sign of the effect of pCO2 on possible future oceanic DMS production were strongly linked to pCO2-induced alterations to the phytoplankton community and to the cellular DMSP content of the dominant species and its association with micrograzers.

Park K.-T., Lee K., Shin K., Yang E. J., Hyun B., Kim J.-M., Noh J.-H., Kim M., Kong B., Choi D. H., Choi S.-J., Jang P.-G. & Jeong H. J., in press. Direct linkage between DMS production and microzooplankton grazing resulting from prey composition change under high pCO2 conditions. Environmental Science and Technology. Article (restricted access).


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