Collaborative Research on Bloom Dynamics and Food Web Structure in the Ross Sea: Vertical Flux of Carbon and Nitrogen
9317598 Asper The growing season for phytoplankton in polar oceans is short, but intense. There is an increasing body of evidence that in many Antarctic habitats, the most active period may be very early in the season, a period that has not been emphasized in previous investigations. This project is part of an interdisciplinary program that focuses on the dynamics of the spring phytoplankton bloom in a highly productive subsystem of the Antarctic, the Ross Sea. The overall program will test hypotheses related to the initiation of the phytoplankton bloom shortly after the onset of ice melt, the mechanisms controlling phytoplankton growth and productivity in spring, the implications and short-term fate of high productivity in spring, and the transition from spring to midsummer conditions. This component will focus on the collection of vertical flux samples which will be analyzed for carbon, nitrogen and total mass flux and also provided to the other investigators for their specific analyses. Profiles of the abundance of large aggregates in the water column using a non- contact photographic method will be made. These data will be used to complement other particle determinations, to investigate the role of these aggregates in particle flux and to determine the mechanisms of particle export as a function of season and phytoplankton species. The end result will be a better understanding of the bloom processes and significant contributions to the data base on aggregates and export mechanisms in this environment.
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