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Reconsideration of the phytoplankton seasonality in the open Black Sea

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  • Oleg A. Yunev, Russian Academy of Sciences
  • ,
  • Jacob Carstensen
  • Ludmila V. Stelmakh, Russian Academy of Sciences
  • ,
  • Vladimir N. Belokopytov, NASU - Marine Hydrophysical Institute
  • ,
  • Vyacheslav V. Suslin, NASU - Marine Hydrophysical Institute

Chlorophyll a (Chl a) observations from satellites exhibit a unimodal seasonal variation in the open Black Sea that peaks during winter, which has led to the hypothesis that phytoplankton production is sustained by convective mixing of nitrate from deeper layers. We compiled in situ carbon-to-Chl a ratios for the entire year, displaying an expected seasonal pattern ranging from 46 in February to 195 mg C mg Chl−1 in September. We combined monthly ratios with satellite Chl a to obtain a comprehensive proxy data set for phytoplankton carbon biomass, and used this to examine the seasonal variation in phytoplankton biomass and bloom occurrences. Contrary to current understanding, our results showed that phytoplankton accumulation is predominantly taking place from July to September, when biomass increased threefold despite nitrate transport from below being negligible. We hypothesize that nitrate harvesting at depths and endosymbiont nitrogen fixation by large diatoms could be important, albeit unexplored mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLimnology and Oceanography Letters
Pages (from-to)51-59
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021

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© 2020 The Authors. Limnology and Oceanography Letters published by Wiley Periodicals LLC. on behalf of Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography.

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