Primary production during nutrient-induced blooms at elevated CO2 concentrations
1Department of Biology, University of Bergen, 5020 Bergen, Norway
2Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) for Marine and Polar Research, Am Handelshafen 12, 27570 Bremerhaven, Germany
3Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Univ. of Bergen, Allégaten 55, 5007 Bergen, Norway
4Leibniz Institut für Meereswissenschaften, IFM-GEOMAR, Kiel, Germany
Abstract. Mesocosms experiments (PeECE II and PeECE III) were carried out in 9 transparent mesocosms. Prior to the experimental period, the seawater carbonate system was manipulated to achieve three different levels of CO2. At the onset of the experimental period, nutrients were added to all mesocosms in order to initiate phytoplankton blooms. Rates of primary production were measured by in-situ incubations using 14C-incorporation and oxygen production/consumption. Particulate primary production by 14C was also size fractionated and compared with phytoplankton species composition. Nutrient supply increased the primary production rates, and a net autotrophic phase with 14C-fixation rates up to 4 times higher than initial was observed midway through the 24 days experiment before net community production returned to near-zero and 14C-fixation rates relaxed back to lower than initial. We found a trend in the 14C-based measurements towards higher cumulative primary production at higher pCO2, consistent with recently published results for DIC removal (Riebesell et al., 2007). There where found differences to the size fractionated primary production response to CO2 treatments. The plankton composition changes throughout the bloom, however, resulted in no significant response until the final phase of the experiment where phytoplankton growth became nutrient limited, and phytoplankton community changed from diatom to flagellate dominance. This opens for the two alternative hypotheses that such an effect is associated with mineral nutrient limited growth, and/or with phytoplankton species composition. The lack of a clear net heterotrophic phase in the last part of the experiment supports the idea that a substantial part of production in the upper layer was not degraded locally, but either accumulated there or was exported vertically.