Short-term changes in a microplankton community in the Chukchi Sea during autumn: consequences of a strong wind event
Abstract. Recent studies indicate an increase in atmospheric turbulence in the Chukchi Sea due to the recent drastic sea-ice reduction during summer months. The importance of the effects of this atmospheric turbulence on the marine ecosystem in this region, however, is not fully understood. To evaluate the effects of atmospheric turbulence on the marine ecosystem, high-frequency sampling (daily) from five layers of the microplankton community between 0 and 30 m at a fixed station in the Chukchi Sea from 10 through 25 September 2013 was conducted. During the study period, a strong wind event (SWE) was observed on 18 and 19 September. The abundance of microplankton was 2.6 to 17.6 cells mL−1, with a maximum abundance being reported at 20 m on 22 September, while diatoms were the most dominant taxa throughout the study period. The abundance of diatoms, dinoflagellates and ciliates ranged between 1.6 and 14.1, 0.5 and 2.4 and 0.1 and 2.8 cells mL−1, respectively. Diatoms belonging to 7 genera consisting of 35 species (Cylindrotheca closterium and Leptocylindrus danicus were dominant), dinoflagellates belonging to 7 genera consisting of 25 species (Prorocentrum balticum and Gymnodinium spp. were dominant) and ciliates belonging to 7 genera consisting of 8 species (Strobilidium spp. and Strombidium spp. were dominant) were identified. Within the microplankton species, there were 11 species with abundances that increased after the SWE, while there was no species with an abundance that decreased following the SWE. It is conjectured that atmospheric turbulences, such as that of an SWE, may supply sufficient nutrients to the surface layer that subsequently enhance the small bloom under the weak stratification of the Chukchi Sea Shelf during the autumn months. After the bloom, the dominant diatom community then shifts from centric-dominated to one where centric/pennate are more equal in abundance.