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https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2018-487
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2018-487
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 03 Dec 2018

Research article | 03 Dec 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG).

Rates and drivers of Red Sea plankton community metabolism

Daffne C. López-Sandoval, Katherine Rowe, Paloma Carillo-de-Albonoz, Carlos M. Duarte, and Susana Agusti Daffne C. López-Sandoval et al.
  • Red Sea Research Center, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwal-Jeddah, 23955-6900, Saudi Arabia

Abstract. Resolving the environmental drivers shaping planktonic communities is fundamental to understanding their variability, present and future, across the ocean. More specifically, resolving the temperature-dependence of planktonic communities in low productive waters is essential to predict the response of marine ecosystems to warming scenarios, as ocean warming leads to oligotrophication of the subtropical ocean. Here we quantified plankton metabolic rates along the Red Sea, a unique oligotrophic and warm environment, and analysed the drivers that regulate gross primary production (GPP), community respiration (CR) and the net community production (NCP). The study was conducted on six oceanographic surveys following a north-south transect along Saudi Arabian coasts. Our findings revealed that Chl-a specific GPP and CR rates increased with increasing temperature (R2=0.41 and 0.19, respectively, P<0.001 in both cases), with a higher activation energy (AE) for GPP (1.2±0.17eV) than for CR (0.73±0.17eV). The higher AE for GPP than for CR resulted in a positive relationship between NCP and temperature. This unusual relationship is likely driven by (1) the relatively higher nutrient availability found towards the warmer region (the South of the Red Sea), and which favours GPP rates above the threshold that separates autotrophic from heterotrophic communities (1.7mmolO2m−3d−1). (2) Due to the arid nature, the basin lacks riverine and terrestrial inputs of organic carbon to subsidise a higher metabolic response of heterotrophic communities, thus constraining CR rates. Our study demonstrates that GPP increases steeply with increasing temperature in the warm ocean when relatively high nutrient inputs are present.

Daffne C. López-Sandoval et al.
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Daffne C. López-Sandoval et al.
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