Transfer of diazotroph-derived nitrogen to the planktonic food web across gradients of N2 fixation activity and diversity in the Western Tropical South Pacific

Type Article
Date 2018-06
Language English
Author(s) Caffin Mathieu1, Berthelot Hugo1, 2, Cornet-Barthaux Veronique1, Barani Aude1, Bonnet Sophie1, 3
Affiliation(s) 1 : Univ Toulon & Var, Aix Marseille Univ, CNRS, IRD,MIO UM110, F-13288 Marseille, France.
2 : Univ Brest, UMR6539, CNRS UBO IRD Ifremer, Lab Sci Environm Marin,IUEM, Plouzane, France.
3 : Univ Toulon & Var, Aix Marseille Univ, CNRS, IRD,MIO UM110, Noumea 98800, New Caledonia.
Source Biogeosciences (1726-4170) (Copernicus Gesellschaft Mbh), 2018-06 , Vol. 15 , N. 12 , P. 3795-3810
DOI 10.5194/bg-15-3795-2018
WOS© Times Cited 16
Note Special issue Interactions between planktonic organisms and biogeochemical cycles across trophic and N2 fixation gradients in the western tropical South Pacific Ocean: a multidisciplinary approach (OUTPACE experiment) Editor(s): T. Moutin, S. Bonnet, K. Richards, D. G. Capone, E. Marañón, and L. Mémery
Abstract

Biological dinitrogen (N2) fixation provides the major source of new nitrogen (N) to the open ocean, contributing more than atmospheric and riverine inputs to the N supply. Yet the fate of the diazotroph-derived N (DDN) in the planktonic food web is poorly understood due to technical limitations. The main goals of this study were to (i) quantify how much of DDN is released to the dissolved pool during N2 fixation and how much is transferred to bacteria, phytoplankton and zooplankton, (ii) to compare the DDN release and transfer efficiencies under contrasting N2 fixation activity and diversity the oligotrophic waters of the Western Tropical South Pacific (WTSP) Ocean. We used nanometer scale secondary ion mass spectrometry (nanoSIMS) coupled with 15N2 isotopic labelling and flow cytometry cell sorting to track the DDN transfer to plankton, in regions were the diazotroph community was either dominated by Trichodesmium or by UCYN-B. After 48 h, ~ 20–40 % of the N2 fixed during the experiment was released to the dissolved pool when Trichodesmium dominated, while the DDN release was not quantifiable when UCYN-B dominated. ~ 7–15 % of the total fixed N (net N2 fixation + release) was transferred to non-diazotrophic plankton within 48 h, with higher transfer efficiencies (15 ± 3 %) when UCYN-B dominated as compared to when Trichodesmium dominated (9 ± 3 %). Most of the DDN (> 90 %) was transferred to picoplankton (Synechococcus, Prochlorococcus and bacteria) in all experiments. The cyanobacteria Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus were the primary beneficiaries (~ 65–70 % of the DDN transfer), followed by heterotrophic bacteria (~ 23–34 % of the DDN transfer). The DDN transfer in bacteria was the highest (34 ± 7 %) when UCYN-B were dominating the diazotroph community. Regarding higher trophic level, the DDN transfer to the dominant zooplankton species was more efficient when the diazotroph community was dominated by Trichodesmium (~ 5–9 % of the DDN transfer) than when it is dominated by UCYN-B (~ 28 ± 13 % of the DDN transfer). To our knowledge, this study provides the first quantification of DDN release and transfer to phytoplankton, bacteria and zooplankton communities in open ocean waters. It reveals that despite UCYN-B fix N2 at lower rates compared to Trichodesmium in the WTSP, the DDN from UCYN-B is much more available and efficiently transferred to the planktonic food web than the DDN coming from Trichodesmium.

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How to cite 

Caffin Mathieu, Berthelot Hugo, Cornet-Barthaux Veronique, Barani Aude, Bonnet Sophie (2018). Transfer of diazotroph-derived nitrogen to the planktonic food web across gradients of N2 fixation activity and diversity in the Western Tropical South Pacific. Biogeosciences, 15(12), 3795-3810. Publisher's official version : https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-15-3795-2018 , Open Access version : https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00419/53003/