8th International Nannoplankton Association Conference


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Amos Winter, Björn Rost, Heinz Hilbrecht, Malte Elbrächter:
Coccolithophores in the Caribbean Sea during May, 1996

Living coccolithophores were collected during R.V. cruise 35/1 (April to May, 1996). Coccolithophores were collected from 15 stations along a transact across the Caribbean Sea, from Barbados to Jamaica. Four oceanographic provinces were encountered. Samples were collected from 3-150m water-depth to determine the biogeographical (horizontal and vertical) distribution of individual coccolithophore species. A total of 68 species were identified, with an average of 19 species per station. In general, coccolithophore abundances were fairly low (102-103 cells/l); only two stations showed abundances in the order of 104 cell/l. Coccolithophores were found throughout the water-column; with abundance peaks near the surface and in the deeper photic zone (140-150m). The coccolithophore assemblages in the four oceanographical provinces differ in their species composition and abundance. There is a relatively high abundance of coccolithophores in deep surface-water and total absence of coccolithophores at some locations. This pattern needs to be considered in models of ocean carbon budgets and ground-truthing of satellite-derived data. Florisphaera profunda occurs just below the Deep Chlorophyll-a Maximum at the top of the nitrate nutricline. Significant information on relative percent abundance of dominant species can be obtained from counting fewer than 300 specimens per sample. This reduces the need to scan large filter areas of samples taken in oligotrophic areas with low standing stocks of coccolithophores.


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 [Division of Micropalaeontology] [Department of Geosciences] [Bremen University]

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