Transfer of seston lipids during a flagellate bloom from the surface to the benthic community in the Weddell Sea


  • Sergio Rossi Environmental Science and Technology Institute, Autonomous University of Barcelona
  • Enrique Isla Institut de Ciències del Mar (CSIC)
  • Alfredo Martínez-García Geologisches Institut NO G 55
  • Núria Moraleda Environmental Science and Technology Institute, Autonomous University of Barcelona
  • Josep María Gili Institut de Ciències del Mar (CSIC)
  • Antoni Rosell-Melé Environmental Science and Technology Institute, Autonomous University of Barcelona - Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats (ICREA)
  • Wolf E. Arntz Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research
  • Dieter Gerdes Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research



Antarctica, seston, lipids, fatty acids, benthic-pelagic coupling, available food


Total lipid and fatty acid concentrations were studied in a late spring-early summer flagellate-dominated bloom in the Weddell Sea. These indicators were considered a good tool for assessing the quality of organic matter settling from surface to deep-water layers (epibenthic water layers). The results showed different patterns between the early (11-15 December 2003) and the late sampling period (18-27 December 2003) at all studied depths (5 m, 50 m and near-bottom water layers). Low phytoplankton biomass (mainly flagellates) in the first half of the study corresponded to low total lipid and fatty acid concentrations. In the second sampling period a spring bloom (mainly flagellates and diatoms) was detected, increasing the total lipid and fatty acid concentrations in the water column. The amount of settling organic matter from surface waters to the near-bottom water layers was high, especially in the late sampling period. Trophic markers showed evidence of a sink of available organic matter rich in quality and quantity, especially in terms of polyunsaturated fatty acids, for benthic organisms from surface layers to bottom layers in only a few days. The importance of studying short-time cycles in order to detect organic matter availability for benthic biota in view of the pulse-like dynamics of primary production in Antarctic waters is discussed.


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How to Cite

Rossi S, Isla E, Martínez-García A, Moraleda N, Gili JM, Rosell-Melé A, Arntz WE, Gerdes D. Transfer of seston lipids during a flagellate bloom from the surface to the benthic community in the Weddell Sea. Sci. mar. [Internet]. 2013Sep.30 [cited 2024May26];77(3):397-40. Available from:



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