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Project - Towards monitoring of taxon specific productivity in Arctic coastal phytoplankton


The Kongsfjorden (79°N, Spitsbergen) has been declared a European Flagship Site of Biodiversity. Future research priorities involve infrastructural innovations and a phytoplankton monitoring program. Phytoplankton observations in the Kongsfjorden are at present highly fragmented and restricted to spring and summer, while sequential productivity estimates are missing. Phytoplankton variability has been linked to changes in the influence of warm Atlantic water from the West Spitsbergen Current (WSC), which is thought to increase in the Kongsfjorden and in the Arctic at large. In addition, the increase in magnitude and timing of land derived melt water influx may also affect phytoplankton composition and production. A continuous monitoring station will be installed in the Kongsfjorden in 2012. Adequate seasonal coverage is of fundamental importance for understanding seasonal and inter-annual variability in phytoplankton production and composition. The proposed project will first of all couple physical and basic biological monitoring data with 3 years of detailed phytoplankton observations with monthly resolution. Next, a diagnostic bio-optical carbon fixation model will be developed to estimate depth integrated carbon fixation characteristics from pigment based taxonomic information and environmental data. To this end, carbon fixation and photoacclimation characteristics will be determined during lab experiments with relevant Arctic phytoplankton isolates. The model will be validated with carbon fixation characteristics in natural Kongsfjorden assemblages. The project will provide information on the possible changes in taxon-specific productivity in coastal Arctic waters. Moreover, the bio-optical model can be used as a general tool for monitoring changes in phytoplankton productivity in Arctic coastal waters.

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Willem H. van De Poll, Douwe S. Maat, et al., 2016. Atlantic Advection Driven Changes in Glacial Meltwater: Effects on Phytoplankton Chlorophyll-a and Taxonomic Composition in Kongsfjorden, Spitsbergen. Frontiers in Marine Science 3 (2016-10-18)

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