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Phytoplankton growth and krill grazing during spring in the Bransfield Strait, Antarctica — Implications from sediment trap collections

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Phytoplankton primary production, biomass, species composition and sedimentation of organic matter (using a moored and a free drifting sediment trap) were measured in eastern Bransfield Strait during spring 1983. Biomass and primary production increased from low levels in late November (1 mgChla m-3 and 400 mgC m-2 d-1) to bloom levels by the end of December (5 mgChla m-3 and 1000 mgC m-2 d-1). The moored trap was deployed at 323 m depth for 22.5 days, and collected 2968 mgC and 67.6 mg chlorophyll a and derivatives per m2 (132 and 3.0 mg m-2 d-1), of which 90% was in the form of krill faeces. These figures are regarded as egestion of krill, and using ingestion: egestion ratios from the literature, grazing loss of phytoplankton by krill was estimated at 45% of the primary production during a period of 3 weeks. Large-scale surveys of phytoplankton standing stock indicate that the build-up of blooms during spring is apparently not controlled by krill grazing. It is therefore suggested that the intense grazing that must have occurred over the trap during the period of deployment was only of local importance.

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von Bodungen, B. Phytoplankton growth and krill grazing during spring in the Bransfield Strait, Antarctica — Implications from sediment trap collections. Polar Biol 6, 153–160 (1986). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00274878

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  • Biomass
  • Chlorophyll
  • Phytoplankton
  • Sedimentation
  • Species Composition