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The growth of 2 different algal size classes was studied in March/April 1994 during the establishment of the spring bloom along a transect from the Dogger Bank to the Shetland Islands in the North Sea. Size-differential growth rates were estimated on the basis of independent measurements of carbon and nitrogen uptake. At the shallower stations near the Dogger Bank (DB) area, chlorophyll a (chl a) levels were up to 5.8 mu g l(-1). In the bloom 89 % of the chi a was in the >5 mu m fraction. In the central North Sea (cNS) and near the Shetland Islands (SI) total chi a was 0.52 and 0.38 mu g l(-1), respectively; 60 % was in the >5 mu m fraction. Depth-integrated primary production at the DB, cNS and SI was 46, 145 and 149 mg C m(-2) d(-1), respectively, for the 5 mu m size fraction. Since the calculated specific growth rates, based on either nitrogen uptake or inorganic carbon uptake, were in good agreement with each other for both size fractions, it was concluded that smaller algae apparently grow faster than larger ones in this typically light-controlled environment. The >5 mu m fraction, however, dominated the bloom at the Dogger Bank. Our findings consolidate the concept of size differential control of phytoplankton communities under typical spring bloom conditions which originally was demonstrated in a coastal area (Riegman et al. 1993; Neth J Sea Res 31:255-265). [KEYWORDS: phytoplankton growth; size fractionation; nitrogen uptake; carbon uptake; North Sea Marine diatoms; cell-size; nitrogen assimilation; carbon fixation; populations; plankton; station; system; waters; light]
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-94
JournalMarine Ecology Progress Series
StatePublished - 1998

ID: 113193