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Atmosphere 2018, 9(8), 305; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos9080305

Phytoplankton and Bacterial Response to Desert Dust Deposition in the Coastal Waters of the Southeastern Mediterranean Sea: A Four-Year In Situ Survey

1
Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research, National Institute of Oceanography, Haifa 3108000, Israel
2
Institute of Marine Science, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95604, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 June 2018 / Revised: 1 August 2018 / Accepted: 1 August 2018 / Published: 3 August 2018
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Abstract

Atmospheric dust/aerosol deposition is an important source of external nutrients for the surface of the ocean. This study shows high-resolution observational data gathered in situ over a period of four years on bacterial and phytoplankton abundance and activity during typical background atmospheric conditions and during intense dust storm events in the low-nutrient, low-chlorophyll (LNLC) coastal waters of the southeastern Mediterranean Sea (SEMS). Chlorophyll a (an estimate for phytoplankton biomass) and bacterial abundance show moderate changes in response to dust deposition/events (−10% and +20%, respectively), while primary production, bacterial production, and N2 fixation rates were all significantly and positively affected by deposition (+25 to +40%; p < 0.05). The rapid changes in bacterial and/or phytoplankton rate parameters suggest that the released micro-/macronutrients from atmospheric deposition are tunneled directly in metabolic processes and, to a lesser extent, for biomass accumulation. The predicted expansion of LNLC areas in oceans in the future, and the projected increase in dust emission due to desertification, may affect the production of marine microbial communities in the surface of the ocean, yet only moderately affect their biomass or standing stock. Such alterations may impact carbon sequestration to the deep ocean. View Full-Text
Keywords: atmospheric deposition; chlorophyll a; primary production; bacterial production; N2 fixation; desert dust; southeastern Mediterranean Sea atmospheric deposition; chlorophyll a; primary production; bacterial production; N2 fixation; desert dust; southeastern Mediterranean Sea
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Rahav, E.; Belkin, N.; Paytan, A.; Herut, B. Phytoplankton and Bacterial Response to Desert Dust Deposition in the Coastal Waters of the Southeastern Mediterranean Sea: A Four-Year In Situ Survey. Atmosphere 2018, 9, 305.

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