Scientia Marina, Vol 77, No S1 (2013)

Picophytoplankton and carbon cycle on the northeastern shelf of the Gulf of Cádiz (SW Iberian Peninsula)

Mariana Ribas-Ribas
Departamento de Química Física, Facultad de Ciencias del Mar y Ambientales, Universidad de Cádiz - School of Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre , Spain

Cristina Sobrino
Departamento de Ecoloxía e Bioloxía Animal, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Vigo , Spain

Bibiana Debelius
Departamento de Química Física, Facultad de Ciencias del Mar y Ambientales, Universidad de Cádiz , Spain

Luís M. Lubián
Instituto de Ciencias Marinas de Andalucía, CSIC , Spain

Rocio Ponce
Departamento de Química Física, Facultad de Ciencias del Mar y Ambientales, Universidad de Cádiz , Spain

Abelardo Gómez-Parra
Departamento de Química Física, Facultad de Ciencias del Mar y Ambientales, Universidad de Cádiz , Spain

Jesús M. Forja
Departamento de Química Física, Facultad de Ciencias del Mar y Ambientales, Universidad de Cádiz , Spain


Four surveys (Jun’06 and Nov’06; Feb’07 and May’07) were carried out on the northeastern shelf of the Gulf of Cádiz (southwest Iberian Peninsula) to relate the spatio-temporal distribution of the carbon cycle parameters (dissolved inorganic carbon and dissolved organic carbon) to picophytoplankton biomass and community composition. In addition, the net ecosystem production and the picophytoplankton contribution to the air-sea CO2 exchange process were investigated. The results showed that chlorophyll-a, carbon cycle parameters and picophytoplankton composition showed large seasonality, and the Guadalquivir Estuary plays an important role in the contribution of nutrient and suspended particular material over the year. Regarding picophytoplankton composition, the flow cytometry analysis demonstrated that Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus were the main populations in the studied area and their temporal and spatial distributions were complementary: the Prochlorococcus population showed its maximum concentration in May’07 and Jun’06 and in the surface oceanic water, whereas the Synechococcus population was at its maximum during Feb’07 and Nov’06, and off the Guadalquivir Estuary and Bay of Cádiz. In addition, a relationship between the studied parameters and the fugacity of CO2 was also observed, suggesting that primary production is an important factor in the regulation of this parameter in the studied area. The calculated carbon budget showed that the area acts as a carbon sink on an annual basis.


carbon cycle; chlorophyll-a; picophytoplankton; seasonal variations; coastal zone; Guadalquivir Estuary; Gulf of Cádiz

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