Seasonal to hour variation scales in abundance and production of total and particle-attached bacteria in the open NW Mediterranean Sea (0–1000 m)
Abstract. We present the vertical and temporal dynamics of total vs. particle-attached bacterial abundance and activity over a 5 week period under summer to autumn transition in NW Mediterranean Sea. At a weekly time scale, total bacterial biomass and production in the euphotic layers was significantly correlated with phytoplanktonic biomass. At an hourly time scale, total bacterial biomass responded very rapidly to chlorophyll a fluctuations, suggesting a tight coupling between phytoplankton and bacteria for resource partitioning during the summer-autumn transition. In contrast, no influence of diel changes on bacterial parameters was detected. Episodic events such as coastal water intrusions had a significant positive effect on total bacterial abundance and production, whereas we could not detect any influence of short wind events whatever the magnitude. Finally, we show that particle-attached bacteria can represent a large proportion (up to 49%) of the total bacterial activity in the euphotic layer but display rapid and sporadic changes at hourly time scales. In the mesopelagic layers, bacterial abundance and production linearly decreased with depth, except some production peaks at 400–750 m. This study underlines the value of large datasets covering different temporal scales to clarify the biogeochemical role of bacteria in the cycling of organic matter in open seawater.