Marine Biology

, Volume 151, Issue 3, pp 805–825 | Cite as

Phytoplankton community structure and primary production in small intertidal estuarine-bay ecosystem (eastern English Channel, France)

  • Fabien JouenneEmail author
  • Sébastien Lefebvre
  • Benoît Véron
  • Yvan Lagadeuc
Research Article


From May 2002 to October 2003, a fortnightly sampling programme was conducted in a restricted macrotidal ecosystem in the English Channel, the Baie des Veys (France). Three sets of data were obtained: (1) physico-chemical parameters, (2) phytoplankton community structure illustrated by species composition, biovolume and diversity, and (3) primary production and photosynthetic parameters via P versus E curves. The aim of this study was to investigate the temporal variations of primary production and photosynthetic parameters in this bay and to highlight the potential links with phytoplankton community structure. The highest level of daily depth-integrated primary production Pz (0.02–1.43 g C m−2 d−1) and the highest maximum photosynthetic rate PBmax (0.39–8.48 mg C mg chl a−1 h−1) and maximum light utilization coefficient αB [0.002–0.119 mg C mg chl a−1 h−1 (μmol photons m−2 s−1)] were measured from July to September. Species succession was determined based on biomass data obtained from cell density and biovolume measurements. The bay was dominated by 11 diatoms throughout the year. However, a Phaeocystis globosa bloom (up to 25 mg chl a m−3, 2.5 × 106 cells l−1) was observed each year during the spring diatom bloom, but timing and intensity varied interannually. Annual variation of primary production was due to nutrient limitation, light climate and water temperature. The seasonal pattern of microalgal succession, with regular changes in composition, biovolume and diversity, influenced the physico-chemical and biological characteristics of the environment (especially nutrient stocks in the bay) and thus primary production. Consequently, investigation of phytoplankton community structure is important for developing the understanding of ecosystem functioning, as it plays a major role in the dynamics of primary production.


Phytoplankton Suspend Particulate Matter Dissolve Inorganic Nitrogen Photosynthetic Parameter Microalgal Species 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was supported by the Conseil Régional de Basse-Normandie, the Agence de l’Eau-Seine-Normandie, the Direction Régionale de l’Environnement and the Direction Régionale des Affaires Maritimes through an IFOP grant. The authors wish to thank J.-P. Lehodey, A. Savinelli, J.-P. Desmasures, F. Guyot and P. Hérisson (Centre de Recherche en Environnement Côtier, UCBN, Luc-sur-Mer) for logistical support during cruises; Dr. I. Probert, Dr. P. Claquin, Dr Line Legall, G. James, J. Montepini (UCBN) for help during cruises and biovolume measurements; Dr. P. Barbey for radioactive experiments in the Laboratoire de Manipulation des Radio-Eléments (LAMARE); O. Pierre-Duplessix (IFREMER, Port-en-Bessin) for nutrient measurements; and Dr. J.-C. Brun-Cottan (Laboratoire de Morphodynamique Continentale et Côtière, UCBN) for the loan of CTD probe. Finally, the authors would like to thank Dr. I. Probert for reviewing the English. The experiments comply with the current laws of the country in which the experiments were performed.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fabien Jouenne
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Sébastien Lefebvre
    • 1
  • Benoît Véron
    • 1
  • Yvan Lagadeuc
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Biologie et Biotechnologies Marines, UMR 100–IFREMERUniversité de Caen Basse-NormandieCaen CedexFrance
  2. 2.FR/IFR CAREN, UMR-CNRS EcobioUniversité de Rennes 1Rennes CedexFrance
  3. 3.UMR 7144–Diversity of Oceanic PlanktonStation Biologique de Roscoff-CNRSRoscoff CedexFrance

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