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Volume 8, issue 1
Biogeosciences, 8, 217–225, 2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Biogeosciences, 8, 217–225, 2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 28 Jan 2011

Research article | 28 Jan 2011

Influence of the Amazon River on dissolved and intra-cellular metal concentrations in Trichodesmium colonies along the western boundary of the sub-tropical North Atlantic Ocean

A. Tovar-Sanchez1 and S. A. Sañudo-Wilhelmy2 A. Tovar-Sanchez and S. A. Sañudo-Wilhelmy
  • 1Department of Global Change Research, IMEDEA (CSIC-UIB) Instituto Mediterráneo de Estudios Avanzados, Miquel Marqués 21, 07190 Esporles, Spain
  • 2University of Southern California, Department of Biological Sciences and Department of Earth Sciences, 3616 Trousdale Parkway, AHF 206, Los Angeles, CA90089-0371, USA

Abstract. Despite the ecological importance of Trichodesmium spp. for the global oceanic nitrogen budget, there is limited information on their trace metal composition in field samples. We report dissolved (<0.22 μm) metal concentrations measured in surface waters (Ag, Cd, Co, Cu, Fe, Mo, Ni, P, Pb and V) and in the total and the intracellular pool (Ag, Al, Cd, Co, Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo, Ni, P, Pb, V) of Trichodesmium populations collected in the western subtropical North Atlantic Ocean (April–May 2003) within the influence of the Amazon River plume. Dissolved element distributions were strongly influenced by the River discharge, with concentrations of some elements varying directly (i.e. Cd, Mo and V) or inversely (Ag, Co, Cu, Fe, Ni, P and Pb) with surface salinity. Intracellular metal values to phosphorous ratios (mol:mol) for Cd, Co, Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo, Ni and V ranged from 9.0 × 10−6 for Cd to 4.4 × 10−2 for Fe. Although total metal composition was significantly correlated with the intracellular content in the Trichodesmium colonies for some elements (e.g., Co, Cu, V), metal pools in the phytoplankton did not co-vary with the dissolved metal concentrations, suggesting that water column measurements may not be good predictors of the intracellular metal concentrations. The impact of physical parameters and bioactive elements on biological processes such as nitrogen fixation, carbon drawdown and biomass production in Trichodesmium colonies was explored by using a principal component analysis test (PCA). The analysis indicated that the biological drawdown of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) by Trichodesmium seems to be influenced by the internal content of Fe, Co, Cd, and Cu, while nitrogen fixation seems more influenced by mixed layer depth and dissolved Fe and Ni concentrations.

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