Articles | Volume 5, issue 4
25 Aug 2008
 | 25 Aug 2008

Distribution and bacterial availability of dissolved neutral sugars in the South East Pacific

R. Sempéré, M. Tedetti, C. Panagiotopoulos, B. Charrière, and F. Van Wambeke

Abstract. The distribution and bacterial availability of dissolved neutral sugars were studied in the South East Pacific from October to December 2004 during the BIOSOPE cruise. Four contrasting stations were investigated: Marquesas Islands (MAR), the hyper-oligotrophic South Pacific Gyre (GYR), the eastern part of the Gyre (EGY), and the coastal waters associated to the upwelling area off Chile (UPW). Total (free and combined) dissolved neutral sugar (TDNS) concentrations were in the same order of magnitude at MAR (387±293 nM), GYR (206±107 nM), EGY (269±175 nM), and UPW (231±73 nM), with the highest and lowest concentrations found at MAR (30 m, 890 nM) and EGY (250 m, 58 nM), respectively. Their contribution to dissolved organic carbon (TDNS-C×DOC−1%) was generally low for all sites varying from 0.4% to 6.7% indicating that South East Pacific surface waters were relatively poor in neutral sugars. Free dissolved neutral sugar (FDNS; e.g. sugars analyzed without hydrolysis) concentrations were very low within the detection limit of our method (5–10 nM) accounting for <5% of the TDNS. In general, the predominant sugars within the TDNS pool were glucose, xylose, arabinose, and galactose, while in the FDNS pool only glucose was present. TDNS stock to bacterial production ratios (integrated values from the surface to the deep chlorophyll maximum) were high at GYR with respect to the low primary production, whereas the opposite trend was observed in the highly productive area of UPW. Intermediate situations were observed for MAR and EGY. Bioavailability of dissolved organic matter (DOM) exposed to natural solar radiation was also experimentally studied and compared to dark treatments. Our results showed no or little detectable effect of sunlight on DOM bacterial assimilation in surface waters of UPW and GYR, while a significant stimulation was found in MAR and EGY. The overall results clearly suggest that DOM is less labile at GYR compared to UPW, which is consistent with the observed accumulation of dissolved organic carbon and the elevated C/N ratios reported by Raimbault et al. (2008).

Final-revised paper