Pelagic stocks and carbon and nitrogen uptake in a pearl farming atoll (Ahe, French Polynesia)

This study reports the first measurements of nitrogen uptake and new data on carbon fixation (15N/13C incorporation) for two size-fractionated phytoplankton (<2 μm and >2 μm), on organic matter, and phytoplankton stocks in Ahe lagoon. Data were collected between November and December 2017, during the hot season with prevailing trade winds. Ammonium and nitrate uptake data (7.58 to 39.81 and 1.80 to 21.43 μmol N m−3 h−1, respectively) suggest a rapid turn-over of N-nutrients in the water column and show that primary production was largely sustained by recycled nitrogen providing 68% of the pelagic N demand. These results highlight the spatial heterogeneity of the measured processes linked to the local hydrodynamics, exhibiting higher regenerated production in the more exploited southwestern part of the lagoon and a higher proportion of new production in the north. Intense nutrient recycling appears to promote nanophytoplankton production which is critical for pearl oyster growth.


Nitrogen uptake, Primary production, Phytoplankton composition, Atoll lagoon, Pearl farming, French Polynesia

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Supplementary Fig. 1S. Map showing locations with rearing concessions for pearl oyster farming (dark grey) and the spat collection sector (light grey). Data courtesy “Direction des Ressources Marines,
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How to cite
Rodier Martine, Pinazo Christel, Seceh Claire, Varillon David (2021). Pelagic stocks and carbon and nitrogen uptake in a pearl farming atoll (Ahe, French Polynesia). Marine Pollution Bulletin. 167. 112352 (11p.).,

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