Planktic foraminifer and coccolith contribution to carbonate export fluxes over the central Kerguelen Plateau

We report the contribution of planktic foraminifers and coccoliths to the particulate inorganic carbon (PIC) export fluxes collected over an annual cycle (October 2011/September 2012) on the central Kerguelen Plateau in the Antarctic Zone (AAZ) south of the Polar Front (PF). The seasonality of PIC flux was decoupled from surface chlorophyll a concentration and particulate organic carbon (POC) fluxes and was characterized by a late summer (February) maximum. This peak was concomitant with the highest satellite-derived sea surface PIC and corresponded to a Emiliania huxleyi coccoliths export event that accounted for 85% of the annual PIC export. The foraminifer contribution to the annual PIC flux was much lower (15%) and dominated by Turborotalita quinqueloba and Neogloboquadrina pachyderma. Foraminifer export fluxes were closely related to the surface chlorophyll a concentration, suggesting food availability as an important factor regulating the foraminifer's biomass. We compared size-normalized test weight (SNW) of the foraminifers with previously published SNW from the Crozet Islands using the same methodology and found no significant difference in SNW between sites for a given species. However, the SNW was significantly species-specific with a threefold increase from T quinqueloba to Globigerina bulloides. The annual PIC:POC molar ratio of 0.07 was close to the mean ratio for the global ocean and lead to a low carbonate counter pump effect (similar to 5%) compared to a previous study north of the PF (6-32%). We suggest that lowers counter pump effect south of the PF despite similar productivity levels is due to a dominance of coccoliths in the PIC fluxes and a difference in the foraminifers species assemblage with a predominance of polar species with lower SNW.


Foraminifer, Coccoliths, Export, Carbonate counter-pump, Kerguelen Plateau, Southern Ocean

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Rembauville M., Meilland J., Ziveri P., Schiebel R., Blain S., Salter I. (2016). Planktic foraminifer and coccolith contribution to carbonate export fluxes over the central Kerguelen Plateau. Deep-sea Research Part I-oceanographic Research Papers. 111. 91-101.,

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