[en] By using the stable isotope N-15, we have measured in situ the uptake of nitrate and ammonium by the seagrass Posidonia oceanica, its leaf epiphyte community, the brown macroalgae Halopteris scoparia and the suspended particulate organic matter (SPOM). In Revellata Bay (Gulf of Calvi, Westem Corsica), which is a very nutrient-poor region, the specific uptake rates (V) (mug N g N 1 h(- 1)) of SPOM measured at ambient concentrations are 10-1000 higher than those of benthic primary producers. Macroalgae have intermediary v, between the seagrass leaf and leaf epiphytes. V are quite variable and the reasons for this variability remain unclear. Despite the difference of specific uptake rates found between benthic and pelagic primary producers, when integrating the uptake fluxes for a water Column of 10 m depth, the contribution of benthic primary producers to N uptake fluxes (g N m(-) (2) h(-) (1)) is significant, corresponding on average to 40% of total uptake flux. This results from the dominance in terms of N biomass of benthic primary producers in this shallow nutrient-poor area. When reported for the entire volume of the Revellata Bay, the contribution of benthic primary producers is reduced to 5 - 10% of total N uptake flux. Although this contribution could appear relatively low, it results in a significant direct transfer of inorganic nitrogen from the water column to the benthic compartment. By this transfer, the benthic plants act as a biological pump incorporating the pelagic N into the benthic compartment for a time longer than the characteristic time of phytoplankton dynamics (month-years vs. day-week). (C) 2003 Elsevier B.V. Alt rights reserved.
Centre Interfacultaire de Recherches en Océanologie - MARE
Fonds pour la formation à la Recherche dans l'Industrie et dans l'Agriculture (Communauté française de Belgique) - FRIA