Marine CDOM accumulation during a coastal Arctic mesocosm experiment: No response to elevated pCO2 levels

A large scale multidisciplinary mesocosm experiment in an Arctic fjord (Kongsfjorden, Svalbard; 78° 56.2´ N) was used to study Arctic marine food webs and biogeochemical elements cycling at natural and elevated future carbon dioxide (CO2) levels. At the start of the experiment marine-derived chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) dominated the CDOM pool. Thus, this experiment constituted a convenient case to study production of autochthonous CDOM, which is typically masked by high levels of CDOM of terrestrial origin in the Arctic Ocean proper. CDOM accumulated during the experiment in line with an increase in bacterial abundance, however no response was observed to increased pCO2 levels. Changes in CDOM absorption spectral slopes indicate that bacteria were most likely responsible for the observed CDOM dynamics. Distinct absorption peaks (at ~ 330 and ~ 360 nm) were likely associated with mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs). Due to the experimental setup, MAAs were produced in absence of ultraviolet exposure providing evidence for MAAs to be considered as multipurpose metabolites rather than simple photoprotective compounds. We showed that a small increase in CDOM during the experiment made it a major contributor to total absorption in a range of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR, 400-700 nm), and therefore, is important for spectral light availability and may be important for photosynthesis and phytoplankton groups composition in a rapidly changing Arctic marine ecosystem.

Pavlov A. K., Silyakova A., Granskog M. A., Bellerby R. G. J., Engel A., Schulz K. G. & Brussaard C. P. D., in press. Marine CDOM accumulation during a coastal Arctic mesocosm experiment: No response to elevated pCO2 levels. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences. Article (subscription required).

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