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See detailCoccolithophore blooms in the Bay of Biscay: Results from the PEACE project
Harlay, Jérôme ULg; Chou, Lei; Sabbe, Koen et al

Conference (2013, May 15)

Pelagic and benthic processes were determined in the nothern Bay of Biscay when coccolithophores blooms occured between 2006 and 2008. Here we present a synthesis of pelagic primary production ... [more ▼]

Pelagic and benthic processes were determined in the nothern Bay of Biscay when coccolithophores blooms occured between 2006 and 2008. Here we present a synthesis of pelagic primary production, calcification and respiration and benthic respiration and dissolution of CaCO3. Or results suggest that CaCO3 dissolution in the surface sediments is small (~1%) compared to integrated pelagic calcification. Benthic respiration increases with the organic load of the sediment and represents ~8% of the integrated pelagic respiration. The relationship between dissolution and respiration rates suggests a metabolic driven dissolution in waters supersaturated with respect to calcite (omega>3.5). We address a mass balance of the described processes and associated CO2 fluxes in the water column. [less ▲]

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See detailBiogeochemistry and carbon mass balance of a coccolithophore bloom in the northern Bay of Biscay (June 2006)
Harlay, Jérôme ULg; Chou, Lei; Van Oostende, Nicolas et al

Poster (2013, May)

Primary production (PP), calcification (CAL), bacterial production (BP) and dark community respiration (DCR) were measured along with a set of various biogeochemical variables, in early June 2006, at ... [more ▼]

Primary production (PP), calcification (CAL), bacterial production (BP) and dark community respiration (DCR) were measured along with a set of various biogeochemical variables, in early June 2006, at several stations at the shelf break of the northern Bay of Biscay. The cruise was carried out after the main spring diatom bloom that, based on the analysis of a time-series of remotely sensed chlorophyll-a (Chl-a), peaked in mid-April. Remotely sensed sea surface temperature (SST) indicated the occurrence of enhanced vertical mixing (due to internal tides) at the continental slope, while adjacent waters on the continental shelf were stratified, as confirmed by vertical profiles of temperature acquired during the cruise. The surface layer of the stratified water masses (on the continental shelf) was depleted of inorganic nutrients. Dissolved silicate (DSi) levels probably did not allow significant diatom development. We hypothesize that mixing at the continental slope allowed the injection of inorganic nutrients that triggered the blooming of mixed phytoplanktonic communities dominated by coccolithophores (Emiliania huxleyi) that were favoured with regards to diatoms due to the low DSi levels. Based on this conceptual frame, we used an indicator of vertical stratification to classify the different sampled stations, and to reconstruct the possible evolution of the bloom from the onset at the continental slope (triggered by vertical mixing) through its development as the water mass was advected on-shelf and stratified. We also established a carbon mass balance at each station by integrating in the photic layer PP, CAL and DCR. This allowed computation at each station of the contribution of PP, CAL and DCR to CO2 fluxes in the photic layer, and how they changed from one station to another along the sequence of bloom development (as traced by the stratification indicator). This also showed a shift from net autotrophy to net heterotrophy as the water mass aged (stratified), and suggested the importance of extracellular production of carbon to sustain the bacterial demand in the photic and aphotic layers. [less ▲]

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See detailContribution of combined carbohydrates to dissolved and particulate organic carbon after the spring bloom in the northern Bay of Biscay (North-Eastern Atlantic Ocean)
Engel, Anja; Harlay, Jérôme ULg; Piontek, Judith et al

in Continental Shelf Research (2012), 45

Two cruises were conducted after the diatom spring bloom in the northern Bay of Biscay (2006, 2007), to assess the contribution of combined carbohydrates to organic carbon partitioning. Partitioning of ... [more ▼]

Two cruises were conducted after the diatom spring bloom in the northern Bay of Biscay (2006, 2007), to assess the contribution of combined carbohydrates to organic carbon partitioning. Partitioning of total organic carbon (TOC) into particulate organic carbon (POC) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) differed between the two years, particularly for depths above 60 m, and was related to the vernal development of the system: a post spring-bloom system in 2007, and a more stratified summer system with higher coccolithophore abundance in 2006. In general, contribution of POC to TOC ranged between 4 and 28% and decreased with depth. Concentration of high molecular weight (>1 kDa) dissolved combined carbohydrates (dCCHO) ranged from 0.6 to 1.4 µmol L−1 and contributed between 4 and 11% to DOC. Concentration of particulate combined carbohydrates (pCCHO) varied between 0.03 and 1.3 µmol L−1. A high contribution of pCCHO to POC was observed in 2007, i.e. 22–60% C compared to 3–10% C in 2006, and coincided with a higher abundance of transparent exopolymer particles (TEP). TEP accounted for 0.4–2.0 µmol C L−1 in 2007 and 0.5–1.5 µmol C L−1 in 2006. Above 60 m, differences in contribution of TEP-C to POC were most pronounced yielding 15.4±3.0% in 2007 compared to relatively low 4.8±1.4%, in 2006. TEP-C could explain about 60% in 2007 and about 40% of pCCHO-C in 2006. Hence, TEP were identified as a substantial component of pCCHO and POC, particularly in the wake of the spring bloom. Molecular composition of CCHO, i.e. HMW-dCCHO+pCCHO, revealed little difference between the years but strong variation over depth. Uronic acids (URA) were identified as a major component of CCHO (20–40%). Our study indicates that the distribution and composition of CCHO in surface seawater are determined by biogeochemical processes on a seasonal scale. A better knowledge of CCHO cycling and molecular signature has therefore a high potential for a better tracing of carbon dynamics in shelf sea ecosystems. [less ▲]

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See detailPhytoplankton community dynamics during late spring coccolithophore blooms at the continental margin of the Celtic Sea (North East Atlantic, 2006–2008)
Van Oostende, Nicolas; Harlay, Jérôme ULg; Vanelslander, Bart et al

in Progress in Oceanography (2012), 114

We determined the spatial and temporal dynamics of major phytoplankton groups in relation to biogeochemical and physical variables during the late spring coccolithophore blooms (May-June) along and across ... [more ▼]

We determined the spatial and temporal dynamics of major phytoplankton groups in relation to biogeochemical and physical variables during the late spring coccolithophore blooms (May-June) along and across the continental margin of the northern Bay of Biscay (2006-2008). Photosynthetic biomass (Chla) of the dominant plankton groups was determined by CHEMTAX analysis of HPLC pigment signatures. We used uni- and multivariate statistical techniques to identify the main physical and biogeochemical variables underlying the variation in phytoplankton biomass and community structure. Phytoplankton standing stock biomass varied substantially between and during the campaigns (areal Chla (mg Chla m-2) in June 2006: 63.8 ± 26.5, May 2007: 27.9 ± 8.4, and May 2008: 41.3 ± 21.8), reflecting the different prevailing weather, irradiance, and sea surface temperature conditions between the campaigns. Coccolithophores, represented mainly by Emiliania huxleyi, and diatoms were the dominant phytoplankton groups, with a maximal contribution of, respectively, 72% and 89% of the total Chla. Prasinophytes, dinoflagellates, and chrysophytes often co-occurred during coccolithophorid blooms, while diatoms dominated the phytoplankton biomass independently of the abundance of other groups. The location of the stations on the shelf or on the slope side of the continental margin did not influence the biomass and the composition of the phytoplankton community despite significantly stronger water column stratification and lower nutrient concentrations on the shelf. The alternation between diatom and coccolithophorid blooms of similar biomasses, following the mostly diatom-dominated main spring bloom, was partly driven by changes in nutrient stoichiometry (N:P and dSi:N). High concentrations of transparent exopolymer particles (TEP) were associated with stratified, coccolithophore-rich water masses, which probably originated from the slope of the continental margin and warmed during advection onto the shelf. Although we did not determine the proportion of export production attributed to phytoplankton groups, the abundance of coccolithophores, TEP, and coccoliths may affect the carbon export efficiency through increased sinking rates of particles formed by aggregation of TEP and coccoliths. [less ▲]

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See detailBiogeochemistry and carbon mass balance of a coccolithophore bloom in the northern Bay of Biscay (June 2006)
Harlay, Jérôme ULg; Chou, Lei; De Bodt, Caroline et al

Poster (2011, April 03)

Primary production (PP), calcification (CAL), bacterial production (BP) and dark community respiration (DCR) were measured along with a set of various biogeochemical variables, in early June 2006, at ... [more ▼]

Primary production (PP), calcification (CAL), bacterial production (BP) and dark community respiration (DCR) were measured along with a set of various biogeochemical variables, in early June 2006, at several stations at the shelf break of the northern Bay of Biscay. The cruise was carried out after the main spring diatom bloom that, based on the analysis of a time-series of remotely sensed chlorophyll-a (Chl-a), peaked in mid-April. Remotely sensed sea surface temperature (SST) indicated the occurrence of enhanced vertical mixing (due to internal tides) at the continental slope, while adjacent waters on the continental shelf were stratified, as confirmed by vertical profiles of temperature acquired during the cruise. The surface layer of the stratified water masses (on the continental shelf) was depleted of inorganic nutrients. Dissolved silicate (DSi) levels probably did not allow significant diatom development. We hypothesize that mixing at the continental slope allowed the injection of inorganic nutrients that triggered the blooming of mixed phytoplanktonic communities dominated by coccolithophores (Emiliania huxleyi) that were favoured with regards to diatoms due to the low DSi levels. Based on this conceptual frame, we used an indicator of vertical stratification to classify the different sampled stations, and to reconstruct the possible evolution of the bloom from the onset at the continental slope (triggered by vertical mixing) through its development as the water mass was advected on-shelf and stratified. We also established a carbon mass balance at each station by integrating in the photic layer PP, CAL and DCR. This allowed computation at each station of the contribution of PP, CAL and DCR to CO2 fluxes in the photic layer, and how they changed from one station to another along the sequence of bloom development (as traced by the stratification indicator). This also showed a shift from net autotrophy to net heterotrophy as the water mass aged (stratified), and suggested the importance of extracellular production of carbon to sustain the bacterial demand in the photic and aphotic layers. [less ▲]

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See detailParticulate carbon export during a bloom of Emiliania huxleyi in the Northwest European continental margin (northern Bay of Biscay)
Schmidt, Sabine; Harlay, Jérôme ULg; Borges, Alberto ULg et al

Poster (2011, April 03)

Coccolithophores, the dominant pelagic calcifiers in the oceans, play a key role in the marine carbon cycle through calcification, primary production and carbon export, the main drivers of the biological ... [more ▼]

Coccolithophores, the dominant pelagic calcifiers in the oceans, play a key role in the marine carbon cycle through calcification, primary production and carbon export, the main drivers of the biological CO2 pump. Massive blooms of Emiliania huxleyi are observed each year at the continental margin of the Bay of Biscay. The BG02/11 cruise (RV Belgica), supported by near-real time remote sensing data, was conducted in early May 2002, along a transect on the outer shelf of the Northern Bay of Biscay between the La Chapelle Bank (southern region of the transect) and Goban Spur (northern region of the transect) (47.0°-50.5°N, 5.0°-11.0°W). Biogeochemical variables including primary production, calcification, partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2), chlorophyll-a (Chl-a), particle load, particulate organic and inorganic carbon (POC, PIC), Th-234 were measured in surface waters to assess particle dynamics, and carbon export in relation to the development of a coccolithophore bloom. We observed a marked northward decrease in water irradiance, Chl-a concentration and calcification rates: the bloom exhibited lower values and may have been less well developed in the Goban Spur area. There was also a large northward decrease in particulate 234Th settling fluxes along the transect from La Chapelle Bank to Goban Spur. The export fluxes of POC and PIC from the top 80 m, determined using the ratios of POC and PIC to Th-234 of particles, ranged from 81 to 323 mgC m-2 d-1 and from 30 to 128 mgC m-2 d-1, respectively. The highest fluxes were observed in waters presenting a well-developed coccolithophore bloom, as shown by high reflectance of surface waters. Despite the high calcification rates at the southernmost stations, surface waters were a net sink of atmospheric CO2 during this cruise. These results tend to demonstrate the enhancement of coccolithophore blooms on the efficiency of the surface community to export carbon to deep ocean. However, improvements in the estimation of POC and PIC export during coccolithophore blooms are needed to not only understand the present calcification to primary production (C:P) ratio, but also to help understand future sequestration of organic and inorganic carbon to the deep ocean. [less ▲]

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See detailBiogeochemistry and carbon mass balance of a coccolithophore bloom in the northern Bay of Biscay (June 2006)
Harlay, Jérôme ULg; Chou, Lei; De Bodt, Caroline et al

in Deep-Sea Research Part I, Oceanographic Research Papers (2011), 58(2), 111-127

Primary production (PP), calcification (CAL), bacterial production (BP) and dark community respiration (DCR) were measured along with a set of various biogeochemical variables, in early June 2006, at ... [more ▼]

Primary production (PP), calcification (CAL), bacterial production (BP) and dark community respiration (DCR) were measured along with a set of various biogeochemical variables, in early June 2006, at several stations at the shelf break of the northern Bay of Biscay. The cruise was carried out after the main spring diatom bloom that, based on the analysis of a time-series of remotely sensed chlorophyll-a (Chl-a), peaked in mid-April. Remotely sensed sea surface temperature (SST) indicated the occurrence of enhanced vertical mixing (due to internal tides) at the continental slope, while adjacent waters on the continental shelf were stratified, as confirmed by vertical profiles of temperature acquired during the cruise. The surface layer of the stratified water masses (on the continental shelf) was depleted of inorganic nutrients. Dissolved silicate (DSi) levels probably did not allow significant diatom development. We hypothesize that mixing at the continental slope allowed the injection of inorganic nutrients that triggered the blooming of mixed phytoplanktonic communities dominated by coccolithophores (Emiliania huxleyi) that were favoured with regards to diatoms due to the low DSi levels. Based on this conceptual frame, we used an indicator of vertical stratification to classify the different sampled stations, and to reconstruct the possible evolution of the bloom from the onset at the continental slope (triggered by vertical mixing) through its development as the water mass was advected on-shelf and stratified. We also established a carbon mass balance at each station by integrating in the photic layer PP, CAL and DCR. This allowed computation at each station of the contribution of PP, CAL and DCR to CO2 fluxes in the photic layer, and how they changed from one station to another along the sequence of bloom development (as traced by the stratification indicator). This also showed a shift from net autotrophy to net heterotrophy as the water mass aged (stratified), and suggested the importance of extracellular production of carbon to sustain the bacterial demand in the photic and aphotic layers. [less ▲]

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See detailThe utilization of polysaccharides by heterotrophic bacterioplankton in the Bay of Biscay (North Atlantic Ocean)
Piontek, Judith; Händel, Nicole; De Bodt, Caroline et al

in Journal of Plankton Research (2011), 33(11), 1719-1735

This study investigates the turnover of polysaccharides by heterotrophic bacterioplankton in the northern Bay of Biscay, a productive marine system on the shelf-break of the temperate Atlantic Ocean ... [more ▼]

This study investigates the turnover of polysaccharides by heterotrophic bacterioplankton in the northern Bay of Biscay, a productive marine system on the shelf-break of the temperate Atlantic Ocean. Field studies were conducted along the shelf-break south of Ireland and west of France (47° 07' 83'' N, 6° 92' 01'' E and 51° 34' 42'' N, 10° 49' 95'' E) during the development of phytoplankton blooms in late spring. Bacterial biomass production (BBP) near the surface ranged from 0.5 to 27.4 nmol C L-1 h-1 in both years. A direct relationship between BBP and the concentration of total polysaccharides strongly suggests the dependence of bacterial growth on the availability of semi-labile organic matter. Concentrations of combined glucose as well as rate constants of extracellular glucosidase activity and glucose uptake were determined to estimate the actual carbon fluxes from bacterial polysaccharide turnover. Results reveal that the degradation of polysaccharides n the upper 100 m of the water column sustained on average a glucose flux of 2.6 mmol C m-2 d-1 i that was available for bacterial uptake. The mean turnover time for polysaccharides was 170 and 165 days for alpha- and beta-glycosidic linked polymers, respectively. Free glucose, the labile hydrolysate of polysaccharides, had a mean turnover time of 4.5 days and supported 2.2 to 18.4% of BBP. The incorporation of glucose into bacterial biomass was stimulated by the availability of inorganic nitrogen. Overall, our results demonstrate that the bacterial recycling of polysaccharides in the Bay of Biscay generates a relevant flux of organic carbon in microbial food-webs and biogeochemical processes. [less ▲]

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See detailCarbon and nitrogen flows during a bloom of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi: Modelling a mesocosm experiment
Joassin, Pascal ULg; Delille, Bruno ULg; Soetaert, Karline et al

in Journal of Marine Systems (2011), 85

A dynamic model has been developed to represent biogeochemical variables and processes observed during experimental blooms of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi induced inmesocosms over a period of 23 ... [more ▼]

A dynamic model has been developed to represent biogeochemical variables and processes observed during experimental blooms of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi induced inmesocosms over a period of 23 days. The model describes carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) cycling through E. huxleyi and the microbial loop, and computes pH and the partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2) from dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and total alkalinity (TA). The main innovations are: 1) the representation of E. huxleyi dynamics using an unbalanced growthmodel in carbon and nitrogen, 2) the gathering of formulations describing typical processes involved in the export of carbon such as primary production, calcification, cellular dissolved organic carbon (DOC) excretion, transparent exopolymer (TEP) formation and viral lyses, and 3) an original and validated representation of the calcification process as a function of the net primary production with a modulation by the intra-cellular N:C ratio mimicking the effect of nutrients limitation on the onset of calcification. It is shown that this new mathematical formulation of calcification provides a better representation of the dynamics of TA, DIC and calcification rates derived from experimental data compared to classicaly used formulations (e.g. function of biomass or of net primary production without anymodulation term). In a first step, the model has been applied to the simulations of present pCO2 conditions. It adequately reproduces the observations for chemical and biological variables and provides an overall view of carbon and nitrogen dynamics. Carbon and nitrogen budgets are derived from the model for the different phases of the bloom, highlighting three distinct phases, reflecting the evolution of the cellular C:N ratio and the interaction between hosts and viruses. During the first phase, inorganic nutrients are massively consumed by E. huxleyi increasing its biomass. Uptakes of carbon and nitrogen are maintained at a constant ratio. The second phase is triggered by the exhaustion of phosphate (PO4 3−). Uptake of carbon and nitrogen being uncoupled, the cellular C:N ratio of E. huxleyi increases. This stimulates the active release of DOC, acting as precursors for TEP. The third phase is characterised by an enhancement of the phytoplankton mortality due to viral lysis. A huge amount of DOC has been accumulated in the mesocosm. [less ▲]

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See detailBenthic remineralization in the northwest European continental margin (northern Bay of Biscay)
Suykens, Kim; Schmidt, Sabine; Delille, Bruno ULg et al

in Continental Shelf Research (2011), 31

We report a dataset of sediment characteristics and biogeochemical fluxes at the watersediment interface at the northwest European continental margin (northern Bay of Biscay). Cores were obtained in June ... [more ▼]

We report a dataset of sediment characteristics and biogeochemical fluxes at the watersediment interface at the northwest European continental margin (northern Bay of Biscay). Cores were obtained in June 2006, May 2007 and 2008, at 18 stations on the shelf break (120 to 180 m), and at 2 stations on the continental slope (520 m and 680 m). Water-sediment fluxes of dissolved oxygen (O2), total alkalinity (TA), nitrate (NO3-), and dissolved silicate (DSi) were measured at a total of 20 stations. Sediment characteristics include: grain size, chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) and phaeopigment (Phaeo) content, particulate organic (POC) and inorganic (PIC) carbon content, and lead-210 (210Pb) and thorium-234 (234Th) activities. Sediments were sandy (fine to coarse) with organic matter (OM) (1.0 - 4.0 %) and Chl-a (0.01 - 0.95 μg g-1) contents comparable to previous investigations in the same region, and a relatively high PIC fraction (0.8 - 10.2 %). Water-sediment O2 fluxes (-2.4 to -8.4 mmol O2 m-2 d-1) were low compared to other coastal environments and correlated well with OM and Chl-a content. 234Th activity profiles indicated that Chl-a sediment content was mainly controlled by physical mixing processes related to local hydrodynamics. The correlation between water-sediment fluxes of O2 and NO3- indicated a close coupling of nitrification/denitrification and total benthic organic carbon degradation. Dissolution of biogenic silica (0.05 to 0.95 mmol m-2 d-1) seemed uncoupled from organic carbon degradation, as characterized by water-sediment O2 fluxes. The link between water-sediment fluxes of TA and O2 indicated the occurrence of metabolic driven dissolution of calcium carbonates (CaCO3) in the sediments (~ 0.33 ± 0.47 mmol m-2 d-1) which represented ~ 1 % of the pelagic calcification rates due to coccolithophores measured during the cruises. These CaCO3 dissolution rates were below those reported in sediments of continental slopes and of the deep ocean, probably due to the high over-saturation with respect to CaCO3 of the water column overlying the continental shelf sediments of the northern Bay of Biscay. Rates of total benthic organic carbon degradation were low compared to water column rates of primary production and aphotic community respiration obtained during the cruises. [less ▲]

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See detailBiogeochemical study of a coccolithophore bloom in the northern Bay of Biscay (NE Atlantic Ocean) in June 2004
Harlay, Jérôme ULg; Borges, Alberto ULg; Van Der Zee, Claar et al

in Progress in Oceanography (2010), 86(3-4), 317-336

The present paper synthesizes data obtained during a multidisciplinary cruise carried out in June 2004 at the continental margin of the northern Bay of Biscay. The data-set allows to describe the ... [more ▼]

The present paper synthesizes data obtained during a multidisciplinary cruise carried out in June 2004 at the continental margin of the northern Bay of Biscay. The data-set allows to describe the different stages of a coccolithophore bloom dominated by Emiliania huxleyi. The cruise was carried out after the main spring phytoplankton bloom that started in mid-April and peaked in mid-May. Consequently, low phosphate (PO4<0.2 μM) and silicate (DSi<2.0 μM) concentrations, low partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2) and high calcite saturation degree in surface waters combined with thermal stratification, probably favoured the blooming of coccolithophores. During the period of the year our cruise was carried out, internal tides induce enhanced vertical mixing at the continental shelf break leading to the injection of inorganic nutrients to surface waters that probably trigger the bloom. The bloom developed as the water-column stratified and as the water mass was advected over the continental shelf, following the general residual circulation in the area. The most developed phase of the bloom was sampled in a remote sensed high reflectance (HR) patch over the continental shelf that was characterized by low chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) concentration in surface waters (<1.0 μg L-1), high particulate inorganic carbon (PIC) concentration (~8 μmol L-1) and coccolithophore abundance up to 57×106 cells L-1. Transparent exopolymer particles (TEP) concentrations ranged between 15 and 120 μg Xeq L-1 and carbon content of TEP represented up to 26% of the particulate organic carbon (POC; maximum concentration of 15.5 μmol L-1 in the upper 40 m). Integrated primary production (PP) ranged between 210 mg C m-2 d-1 and 680 mg C m-2 d-1 and integrated calcification (CAL) ranged between 14 and 140 mg C m-2 d-1, within the range of PP and CAL values previously reported during coccolithophore blooms in open and shelf waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. Bacterial protein production (BPP) measurements in surface waters (0.3 to 0.7 μg C L-1 h-1) were much higher than those reported during early phases of coccolithophore blooms in natural conditions, but similar to those during peak and declining coocolithophorid blooms reported in mesocosms. Total alkalinity anomalies with respect to conservative mixing (ΔTA) down to -49 μmol kg-1 are consistent with the occurrence of biogenic precipitation of calcite, while pCO2 remained 15 to 107 μatm lower than atmospheric equilibrium (372 μatm). The correlation between ΔTA and pCO2 suggested that pCO2 increased in part due to calcification, but this increase was insufficient to overcome the background under-saturation of CO2. This is related to the biogeochemical history of the water masses due to net carbon fixation by the successive phytoplankton 2 [less ▲]

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See detailTowards a comprehensive C-budgeting approach of a cocoliothophorid bloom in the northern Bay of Biscay: results from PEACE project.
Harlay, Jérôme ULg; Borges, Alberto ULg; Delille, Bruno ULg et al

Conference (2010, May 03)

During coccolithophorid blooms, carbon (C) cycling in the photic zone is driven by the production and the degradation of organic matter (primary production and community respiration), as well as the ... [more ▼]

During coccolithophorid blooms, carbon (C) cycling in the photic zone is driven by the production and the degradation of organic matter (primary production and community respiration), as well as the production and the dissolution of biogenic calcium carbonate (CaCO3). Organic and inorganic metabolisms lead to a transfer of carbon to depth and both impact the flows of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the water column and the CO2 flux across the air-sea interface. Furthermore, due to complex dynamics of coccolithophores, the impact of metabolic C fluxes on CO2 fluxes is variable in time, depending on the stage of the bloom development, and mainly on the ratio of calcification to primary production (CAL:GPP). Understanding and quantifying C cycling of coccolithophorid blooms in natural conditions is a prerequisite to correctly validate biogeochemical models aiming at predicting feedbacks related to ocean acidification, which incorporate knowledge obtained from perturbation laboratory experiments. We carried out a trans-disciplinary cruise on board the R/V Belgica at the continental margin of the Bay of Biscay, in the midst of a coccolithophorid bloom, during which 14C primary production (GPPp), 14C calcification (CAL) and O2-based pelagic community respiration rates (PCR) were determined in the water column. [less ▲]

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See detailDissolved inorganic carbon dynamics and air-sea carbon dioxide fluxes during coccolithophorid blooms in the Northeast European continental margin (northern Bay of Biscay)
Suykens, Kim; Delille, Bruno ULg; Chou, Lei et al

Poster (2010, May 03)

Balch et al. (2007) evaluated global pelagic contemporary calcification from remote sensing data (mainly associated to coccolithophores) to 1.6 ± 0.3 Pg PIC yr-1 (1 Pg = 1015 g; PIC = particulate ... [more ▼]

Balch et al. (2007) evaluated global pelagic contemporary calcification from remote sensing data (mainly associated to coccolithophores) to 1.6 ± 0.3 Pg PIC yr-1 (1 Pg = 1015 g; PIC = particulate inorganic carbon). This would imply that coccolithophores would be the most important pelagic calcifier in the oceans, since other estimates of contemporary global pelagic calcification range between 0.7 Pg PIC yr-1 based on accumulation rates and sediment trap data (Milliman et al. 1999), and 1.4 Pg PIC yr-1, based on the seasonal cycle of total alkalinity (TA) in the euphotic zone (Lee 2001). The development of coccolithophorid blooms affects the seawater carbonate chemistry, and air-sea CO2 fluxes, through the organic carbon pump and the carbonate counter-pump. The ratio between calcification (carbonate counter-pump), and organic carbon production (organic carbon pump), the C:P ratio, depends on the life cycle (bloom development), and growth conditions of coccolithophores. At the onset of the coccolithophorid bloom, when nutrients are available for growth, organic carbon production dominates over calcification (C:P << 1, the so-called organic phase). At the end of the bloom, in nutrient depleted conditions, and high irradiances (due to stronger stratification), organic carbon production decreases and calcification increases (C:P ≤ 1, the so-called inorganic phase). Several manipulative experiments to test the effect of ocean acidification on coccolithophores have shown that while calcification would decrease, the export of organic carbon would increase mainly through increasing transparent exopolymer particles (TEP) production. For a credible implementation in mathematical models of such feed-back mechanisms to allow the projection of a future evolution of carbon biogeochemistry under global change, it is required to understand present day biogeochemistry and ecology of naturally occurring pelagic calcifying communities. In particular, the overall effect of phytoplankton communities on the C:P ratio, and the net effect on carbonate chemistry, and related air-sea CO2 fluxes. [less ▲]

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See detailParticle export with coccolithophorid Emiliania huxleyi blooms in the Bay of Biscay. XII International Symposium on Oceanography of the Bay of Biscay
Schmidt, Sabine; Harlay, Jérôme ULg; Roevros, Nathalie et al

Conference (2010, May 03)

Coccolithophores, one of the most productive calcifying phytoplanktonic groups, often form massive blooms in the temperate and sub-polar oceans, and in particular at continental margins and in shelf seas ... [more ▼]

Coccolithophores, one of the most productive calcifying phytoplanktonic groups, often form massive blooms in the temperate and sub-polar oceans, and in particular at continental margins and in shelf seas. Export of organic carbon and calcification are the main drivers of the biological CO2 pump and are expected to change with oceanic acidification. Coccolithophores are also a major producer of dimethyl sulphide (DMS), whose oxidation products of DMS affect the number and size distribution of tropospheric cloud condensation nuclei, with possible consequences for cloud albedo and heat balance. Coccolithophores are further known to produce transparent exopolymer particles (TEP) that promote particle aggregation and sinking. Coccolithophores play thus key roles in the global carbon, carbonate and sulphur cycles, and, in turn, in climate regulation. The objectives of the Belgian CCCC project (Role of Oceanic Production and Dissolution of Calcium Carbonate in Climate Change) was to evaluate the role in climate regulation of calcification, primary production and export processes during coccolithophorid blooms. Field investigations, supported by remote sensing data, were conducted in the Northern Gulf of Biscay on the continental shelf and slope region (47°- 50°30'N, 5°-11°W) where coccolithophorid blooms are frequently and recurrently observed. During the cruises in May 2002 and 2003 on board the r/v Belgica, fundamental variables (temperature, salinity, primary production, Chl. a, particulate organic carbon) were measured in the water column. To estimate the spatial variability of particle dynamics in surface waters in relation with the coccolithophorid bloom development, we had employed the natural radionuclide 234Th. The preferential scavenging of the particle-reactive daughter 234Th (t1/2= 24.1 days) while its soluble parent, 238U, remains nearly constant, provides an appropriate tool for assessing temporal variations of the removal of particles from surface waters, at a time scale of weeks. The two cruises have permitted to sample two different situations; in particular in May 2002, it was possible to sample a well-developed bloom. As a result, 234Th present contrasted profiles in the upper 0-80 m during the two investigations. In May 2003, 234Th was nearly in equilibrium with 238U (its radioactive parent) along with high particulate activities: this seems to indicate an early bloom situation with low grazing fluxes. On the opposite, in May 2002, deficits of 234Th toward 238U were indicating more efficient particle export from upper waters. Synthesis of the acquired data will be discussed to compare particle dynamics and the magnitude of particulate carbon export using 234Th and POC data at different states of coccolithophorid bloom in the Northern Gulf of Biscay. [less ▲]

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See detailDissolved inorganic carbon dynamics and air-sea carbon dioxide fluxes during coccolithophorid blooms in the Northeast European continental margin (northern Bay of Biscay)
Suykens, Kim; Delille, Bruno ULg; Chou, Lei et al

Poster (2010, May 02)

We present a data-set of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) obtained during three cruises in the northern Bay of Biscay carried out in June 2006, May 2007, and May 2008. During these cruises, blooms of ... [more ▼]

We present a data-set of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) obtained during three cruises in the northern Bay of Biscay carried out in June 2006, May 2007, and May 2008. During these cruises, blooms of coccolithophores occurred, as indicated by patches of high reflectance on remote sensing images, phytoplankton pigment signatures, and microscopic examinations. Total alkalinity (TA) showed a non-conservative behaviour as a function of salinity due to the cumulated effect of net community calcification (NCC) during bloom development on seawater carbonate chemistry. The cumulated impact of NCC and net community production (NCP) on DIC and the partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) were evaluated. The decrease of DIC (and increase of pCO2) due to NCC was overwhelmingly lower than the decrease of DIC (and decrease of pCO2) due to NCP (NCC:NCP « 1). During the cruises, the northern Bay of Biscay acted as a sink of atmospheric CO2 (on average -9.7 mmol C m-2 d-1 for the 3 cruises). The overall effect of NCC in decreasing the CO2 sink during the cruises was low (on average 12% of total air-sea CO2 flux). If this is a general feature in naturally occurring phytoplankton blooms in the northern North Atlantic Ocean (where coccolithophorid blooms are the most intense and recurrent), and in the global ocean, then the potential feed-back on increasing atmospheric CO2 of the projected decrease of pelagic calcification due to thermodynamic CO2 “production” from calcification is probably minor compared to feed-backs related to changes of NCP. [less ▲]

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See detailBenthic remineralization in the northeast European continental margin (northern Bay of Biscay)
Suykens, Kim; Schmidt, Sabine; Delille, Bruno ULg et al

Poster (2010, May 02)

We report a data-set of sediment characteristics and biogeochemical fluxes at the water-sediment interface at the northeast European continental margin (northern Bay of Biscay). Cores were obtained in ... [more ▼]

We report a data-set of sediment characteristics and biogeochemical fluxes at the water-sediment interface at the northeast European continental margin (northern Bay of Biscay). Cores were obtained in June 2006, May 2007 and 2008, at 8 stations on the shelf break (120 to 180 m), and at 2 stations on the continental slope (520 m and 680 m). Sediment-water fluxes of dissolved oxygen (O2), total alkalinity (TA), nitrate (NO3-), and dissolved silicate (DSi) were measured at a total of 20 stations. Sediment characteristics include: grain size, chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) and phaeopigment (Phaeo) content, particulate organic (POC) and inorganic (PIC) carbon content, and 234Th and 210Pb activities. Sediments were sandy (fine to coarse) with organic matter (OM) (1.0 - 4.0 %) and Chl-a (0.01 - 0.95 µg g-1) contents comparable to previous publications in the same region, and a relatively high PIC fraction (0.8 - 10.2 %). Sediment-water O2 fluxes (-2.4 to -8.4 mmol O2 m-2 d-1) were low compared to other coastal environments and correlated well with OM and Chl-a content. 234Th activity profiles indicated that Chl-a sediment content (apparently the main driver of total benthic organic carbon degradation) was mainly controlled by physical mixing processes related to local hydrodynamics. The correlation between sediment-water fluxes of O2 and NO3- indicated a close coupling of nitrification/denitrification and total benthic organic carbon degradation. Dissolution of biogenic silica (0.05 to 0.95 mmol m-2 d-1) was uncoupled from organic carbon degradation, characterized by sediment-water O2 fluxes. The link between sediment-water fluxes of TA and O2 indicated metabolic driven dissolution ( 0.33 +/- 0.47 mmol m-2 d-1) of calcium carbonates (CaCO3) in the sediments which represented ~1 % of the pelagic calcification rates due to coccolithophores. These rates were below those reported in sediments of continental slopes and of the deep ocean, probably due to the high over-saturation with respect to CaCO3 of the water column overlying the continental shelf sediments of the northern Bay of Biscay. Rates of total benthic organic carbon degradation and CaCO3 dissolution were low compared to water column rates of primary production, aphotic community respiration and CaCO3 production obtained during the cruises. [less ▲]

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See detailDissolved inorganic carbon dynamics and air-sea carbon dioxide fluxes during coccolithophore blooms in the northwest European continental margin (northern Bay of Biscay)
Suykens, Kim; Delille, Bruno ULg; Chou, Lei et al

in Global Biogeochemical Cycles (2010), 24

We report a data set of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) obtained during three cruises in the northern Bay of Biscay carried out in June 2006, May 2007, and May 2008. During these cruises, blooms of the ... [more ▼]

We report a data set of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) obtained during three cruises in the northern Bay of Biscay carried out in June 2006, May 2007, and May 2008. During these cruises, blooms of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi occurred, as indicated by patches of high reflectance on remote sensing images, phytoplankton pigment signatures, and microscopic examinations. Total alkalinity showed a nonconservative behavior as a function of salinity due to the cumulative effect of net community calcification (NCC) on seawater carbonate chemistry during bloom development. The cumulative effect of NCC and net community production (NCP) on DIC and the partial pressure of CO2 (pCO(2)) were evaluated. The decrease of DIC (and increase of pCO(2)) due to NCC was overwhelmingly lower than the decrease of DIC (and decrease of pCO(2)) due to NCP (NCC: NCP << 1). During the cruises, the northern Bay of Biscay acted as a sink of atmospheric CO2 (on average similar to-9.7 mmol C m(-2) d(-1) for the three cruises). The overall effect of NCC in decreasing the CO2 sink during the cruises was low (on average similar to 12% of total air-sea CO2 flux). If this is a general feature in naturally occurring phytoplankton blooms in the North Atlantic Ocean (where blooms of coccolithophores are the most intense and recurrent), and in the global ocean, then the potential feedback on increasing atmospheric CO2 of the projected decrease of pelagic calcification due to thermodynamic CO2 "production" from calcification is probably minor compared to potential feedbacks related to changes of NCP. [less ▲]

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See detailIndividual and interacting effects of pCO2 and temperature on Emiliania huxleyi calcification: Study of the calcite production, the coccolith morphology and the coccosphere size
De Bodt, Caroline; Van Oostende, Nicolas; Harlay, Jérôme ULg et al

in Biogeosciences (2010), 7

The impact of ocean acidification and increased water temperature on marine ecosystems, in particular those involving calcifying organisms, has been gradually recognised. We examined the individual and ... [more ▼]

The impact of ocean acidification and increased water temperature on marine ecosystems, in particular those involving calcifying organisms, has been gradually recognised. We examined the individual and combined effects of increased pCO2 (180 ppm V CO2, 380 ppm V CO2 and 750 ppm V CO2 corresponding to past, present and future CO2 conditions, respectively) and temperature (13°C and 18°C) during the calcification phase of the coccolithophore E. huxleyi using batch culture experiments. We showed that the cell abundance-normalized particulate organic carbon concentration (POC) increased from the present to the future CO2 treatments. A significant effect of pCO2 and of temperature on calcification was found, manifesting itself in a lower cell abundance-normalized particulate inorganic carbon (PIC) content as well as a lower PIC:POC ratio at future CO2 levels and at 18°C. Coccosphere-sized particles showed a size reduction trend with both increasing temperature and CO2 concentration. The influence of the different treatments on coccolith morphology was studied by categorizing SEM coccolith micrographs. The number of well-formed coccoliths decreased with increasing pCO2 while temperature did not have a significant impact on coccolith morphology. No interacting effect of pCO2 and temperature was observed on calcite production, coccolith morphology or on coccosphere size. Finally, our results suggest that ocean acidification might have a larger adverse impact on coccolithophorid calcification than surface water warming. [less ▲]

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See detailRole of pelagic calcification and export of carbonate production in climate change
Chou, Lei; Harlay, Jérôme ULg; De Bodt, Caroline et al

Poster (2009, November 16)

The marine carbon cycle constitutes a key component of the climate system. It has been shown that one-fourth of the anthropogenic CO2 emitted to the atmosphere is absorbed by the ocean, leading to the ... [more ▼]

The marine carbon cycle constitutes a key component of the climate system. It has been shown that one-fourth of the anthropogenic CO2 emitted to the atmosphere is absorbed by the ocean, leading to the acidification of the surface ocean and the modification of seawater carbonate chemistry. This could have major impacts on the ocean biogeochemical carbon cycling and ecosystem dynamics. Yet, the resulting feedbacks on climate change are still poorly understood. Interdisciplinary biogeochemical investigations, assisted by remote sensing, have been conducted during three consecutive years along the shelf break of the Northern Bay of Biscay where coccolithophorid blooms dominated by Emiliania huxleyi are frequently and recurrently observed. Rates of various processes governing the coccolithophore ecosystem dynamics have been determined and air-sea CO2 fluxes evaluated. The key results will be presented and discussed to evaluate the role in climate regulation of calcification, primary production and export processes during coccolithophorid blooms. [less ▲]

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See detailBiogeochemistry and carbon budget during a coccolithophorid bloom in the northern Bay of Biscay (June 2006)
Harlay, Jérôme ULg; Borges, Alberto ULg; De Bodt, Caroline et al

Poster (2009, April 19)

Carbon cycling processes (primary production (PPp), calcification (CAL), bacterial production and pelagic community respiration (PCR)) and variables (partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) and total alkalinity ... [more ▼]

Carbon cycling processes (primary production (PPp), calcification (CAL), bacterial production and pelagic community respiration (PCR)) and variables (partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) and total alkalinity (TA)) were measured in early June 2006 at several stations in the northern Bay of Biscay. These measurements were characterized with respect to the coccolithophorid blooming (growth or decline) based on satellite remote sensing (high reflectance (HR)) and other biogeochemical measurements i.e. inorganic nutrients, chlorophyll-a (Chl-a), phaeopigments (Phaeo), particulate inorganic carbon (PIC), particulate organic carbon (POC) and particulate nitrogen (PN)). The major HR patch was located over the shelf, along the continental margin and corresponded to declining bloom conditions characterized by moderate Chl-a <1.0 µg L-1, dissolved phosphate (PO4) depletion, low (<2.0 µmol L-1) dissolved silicate (DSi), low potential primary production (<0.25 µmol C L-1 h-1) and calcification rates (0.02-0.10 µmol C L-1 h-1). Yet, surface waters were undersaturated in CO2 with respect to atmospheric equilibrium. We present a coherent scheme of the C dynamics of a coccolithophorid bloom along the continental margin of the Bay of Biscay, an active hydrodynamic area, based on standing stocks and processes including 14C-based particulate primary production, CAL and PCR. A carbon budget obtained by integrating PPp, CAL and PCR over the water column highlights the importance of C extracellular production to sustain the bacterial demand in the twilight zone, which has also several repercussions on the fate of organic and inorganic C production in the photic zone during the different stages of the bloom. [less ▲]

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