Is there any relationship between phytoplankton seasonal dynamics and the carbonate system?

Merico, A
Tyrrell, T
Cokacar, T
Production of calcium carbonate by marine calcifying organisms has been shown to decrease under increasing CO2. This effect appears to be driven by a decrease in [CO32-]. The modelling study here described aims at investigating whether the success of a marine calcifying phytoplankton species, the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi, may be tied to [CO32-]. The work highlights the complex interactions between the carbonate system variables and spring blooms, and the possibility of a link to the competition between calcifying vs. non-calcifying species on the Bering Sea shelf. We find that the strong seasonal cycle in [CO32-] is driven primarily by carbon drawdown during spring blooms. The interesting outcome of this work is the fact that E. huxleyi bloom timings always coincide with periods of high [CO32-], which is consistent with studies showing coccoliths malformations and a slowdown in calcification at low [CO32-]. Whether the condition of high [CO32-] can be considered a crucial ecological factor for the success of E. huxleyi, however, remains an open and important question needing further investigation.


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Citation Formats
A. Merico, T. Tyrrell, and T. Cokacar, “Is there any relationship between phytoplankton seasonal dynamics and the carbonate system?,” JOURNAL OF MARINE SYSTEMS, pp. 120–142, 2006, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: