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https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-249
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-249
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  21 Jul 2020

21 Jul 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Eukaryotic community composition in the sea surface microlayer across an east-west transect in the Mediterranean Sea

Birthe Zäncker1,2, Michael Cunliffe2,3, and Anja Engel1 Birthe Zäncker et al.
  • 1GEOMAR, Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, 24105 Kiel, Germany
  • 2Marine Biological Association of the UK, Plymouth, PL1 2PB, United Kingdom
  • 3School of Biological and Marine Sciences, University of Plymouth, PL4 8AA, United Kingdom

Abstract. The sea surface microlayer (SML) represents the boundary layer at the air-sea interface. Microbial eukaryotes in the SML potentially influence air-sea gas exchange directly by taking up and producing gases, and indirectly by excreting and degrading organic matter, which may modify the viscoelastic properties of the SML. However, little is known about the controlling factors that influence microbial eukaryote community composition in the SML. We studied the composition of the microbial community, transparent exopolymer particles and polysaccharides in the SML during the PEACETIME cruise along a west-east transect in the Mediterranean Sea, covering the western basin, Tyrrhenian Sea and Ionian Sea. At the stations located in the Ionian Sea, fungi were found in high relative abundances determined by 18S sequencing efforts, making up a significant proportion of the sequences recovered. At the same time, bacterial and phytoplankton counts were decreasing from west to east, while transparent exopolymer particle (TEP) abundance and total carbohydrate (TCHO) concentrations remained the same between Mediterranean basins. Thus, the presence of substrates for fungi, such as Cladosporium known to take up phytoplankton-derived polysaccharides, in combination with decreased substrate competition by bacteria suggests that fungi could be thriving in the neuston of the Ionian Sea.

Birthe Zäncker et al.

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Birthe Zäncker et al.

Birthe Zäncker et al.

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Short summary
Fungi are found in numerous marine environments. Our study found an increased importance of fungi in the Ionian Sea where bacterial and phytoplankton counts were reduced, but organic matter was still available, suggesting fungi might benefit from the reduced competition from bacteria in LNLC regions.
Fungi are found in numerous marine environments. Our study found an increased importance of...
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