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Remote assessment of the fate of phytoplankton in the Southern Ocean sea-ice zone

Moreau, S ORCID: 0000-0001-9446-812X, Boyd, PW ORCID: 0000-0001-7850-1911 and Strutton, PG ORCID: 0000-0002-2395-9471 2020 , 'Remote assessment of the fate of phytoplankton in the Southern Ocean sea-ice zone' , Nature Communications, vol. 11, no. 1 , pp. 1-9 , doi:

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In the Southern Ocean, large-scale phytoplankton blooms occur in open water and the sea-ice zone (SIZ). These blooms have a range of fates including physical advection, downward carbon export, or grazing. Here, we determine the magnitude, timing and spatial trends of the biogeochemical (export) and ecological (foodwebs) fates of phytoplankton, based on seven BGC-Argo floats spanning three years across the SIZ. We calculate loss terms using the production of chlorophyll—based on nitrate depletion—compared with measured chlorophyll. Export losses are estimated using conspicuous chlorophyll pulses at depth. By subtracting export losses, we calculate grazing-mediated losses. Herbivory accounts for ~90% of the annually-averaged losses (169 mg C m−2 d−1), and phytodetritus POC export comprises ~10%. Furthermore, export and grazing losses each exhibit distinctive seasonality captured by all floats spanning 60°S to 69°S. These similar trends reveal widespread patterns in phytoplankton fate throughout the Southern Ocean SIZ.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Moreau, S and Boyd, PW and Strutton, PG
Keywords: Antarctic, phytoplankton blooms
Journal or Publication Title: Nature Communications
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
ISSN: 2041-1723
DOI / ID Number:
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© 2020. The Authors. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License, (, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

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