Scientia Marina, Vol 80, No 4 (2016)

Aerosol inputs affect the optical signatures of dissolved organic matter in NW Mediterranean coastal waters

E. Denisse Sánchez-Pérez
Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ. Paris 06 - Institut de Ciències del Mar, CSIC, France

Isabel Marín
Institut de Ciències del Mar, CSIC, Spain

Sdena Nunes
Institut de Ciències del Mar, CSIC, Spain

Laura Fernández-González
Institut de Ciències del Mar, CSIC, Spain

Francesc Peters
Institut de Ciències del Mar, CSIC, Spain

Mireille Pujo-Pay
Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ. Paris 06 - CNRS, France

Pascal Conan
Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ. Paris 06 - CNRS, France

Cèlia Marrasé
Institut de Ciències del Mar, CSIC, Spain


Aeolian inputs of organic and inorganic nutrients to the ocean are important as they can enhance biological production in surface waters, especially in oligotrophic areas like the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean littoral is particularly exposed to both anthropogenic and Saharan aerosol depositions on a more or less regular basis. During the last few decades experimental studies have been devoted to examining the effect of inorganic nutrient inputs from dust on microbial activity. In this study, we performed experiments at two different locations of the NW Mediterranean, where we evaluated the changes in the quality and quantity of dissolved organic matter due to atmospheric inputs of different origin (Saharan and anthropogenic) and its subsequent transformations mediated by microbial activities. In both experiments the humic-like and protein-like substances, and the fluorescence quantum yield increased after addition. In general, these changes in the quality of dissolved organic matter did not significantly affect the prokaryotes. The recalcitrant character of the fluorescent dissolved organic matter (FDOM) associated with aerosols was confirmed, as we found negligible utilization of chromophoric compounds over the experimental period. We framed these experiments within a two-year time series data set of atmospheric deposition and coastal surface water analyses. These observations showed that both Saharan and anthropogenic inputs induced changes in the quality of organic matter, increasing the proportion of FDOM substances. This increase was larger during Saharan dust events than in the absence of Saharan influence.


FDOM; aerosol deposition; DOC; Mediterranean Sea

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