Vertical Distribution and Biochemical Composition of Pico- and Microparticulate Organic Matter in the Ross Sea (Antarctica)

  • M. Fabiano
  • R. Danovaro
  • P. Povero
Conference paper


We studied the vertical distribution and biochemical composition of particulate organic matter in seven coastal stations located in Terra Nova Bay and in five open-sea stations located in the Ross Sea (Antarctica) during summer 1989–90. Protein, carbohydrate, lipid and ATP concentrations were estimated to assess the quantitative role of labile organic fractions in the cycling of organic matter in the water column and the processes related to particle dynamics. Particulate organic matter was filtered through 0.2 and 2.0 m pore-size filters to discriminate two size fractions: picoparticulate matter (particles between 0.2 and 2.0 m) and microparticulate matter (particles between 2.0 and 200 m). Significant quantitative and qualitative differences between the pico- and microparticulate fraction were observed. Total particulate suspended matter was mostly composed of micropartides, which accounted for two thirds of the total concentration. Similar results were obtained for proteins, carbohydrates and lipids. By contrast, ATP concentrations were significantly higher in the picoparticulate fraction. Although most of the picoparticulate matter was detrital (61.3%), this fraction contained the largest proportion of living organisms (i.e. picoplankton), whereas the microparticulate fraction was almost exclusively composed of organic detritus. Significant compositional differences between the two size-classes of particles were observed. The microparticulate matter was dominated by proteins, whereas the picoparticulate matter was mostly composed of carbohydrates. This may indicate a different origin of the two size-groups of particles.


Particulate Organic Matter Particulate Organic Carbon Mixed Layer Depth Photic Zone Total Suspended Matter 
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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Fuhrman JA, Sleeter TD, Carlson CA, Proctor LM (1989) Dominance of bacterial biomass in the Sargasso Sea and its ecological implications. Mar Ecol Progr Ser 57: 207–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Cho BC, Azam F (1990) Biogeochemical significance of bacterial biomass in the ocean’s euphotic zone. Mar Ecol Progr Ser 63: 287–298CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Navarro JM, Thompson RJ (1995) Seasonal fluctuations in the size spectra, biochemical composition and nutritive value of the seston available to a suspension-feeding bivalve in a subarctic environment. Mar Ecol Progr Ser 125: 95–106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Dunbar RB, MacPerson AJ, Wefer G (1985) Water-column particulate flux and sea floor deposit in the Bransfield Strait and Southern Ross Sea, Antarctica. Antarct J, pp 98–102Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Nelson DM, Smith WO Jr (1986) Phytoplankton bloom dynamics of the western Ross Sea ice-edge - II. Mesoscale cycling of nitrogen and silicon. Deep Sea Res 33: 1389–1412Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Smith WO, Nelson DM (1985) Phytoplankton bloom produced by a receding ice-edge in the Ross Sea: spatial coherence with the density field. Science 227: 163–166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Nelson DM, DeMaster DJ, Dunbar RB, Smith WO Jr (1996) Cycling of organic carbon and biogenic silica in the Southern Ocean: estimates of water column and sedimentary fluxes on the Ross Sea continental shelf. J Geophys Res 101 (C8): 18519–18532CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Smith WO Jr, Nelson DM, Di Tullio GR, Leventer R (1996) Temporal and spatial patterns in the Ross Sea: phytoplankton biomass, elemental composition, productivity and growth rates. J Geophy Res 101 (C8): 18455–18465CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Fabiano M, Povero P, Danovaro R (1993) Distribution and composition of particulate organic matter in the Ross Sea ( Antarctica ). Pol Biol 13: 525–533Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Fabiano M, Danovaro R, Crisafi E, La Ferla R, Povero P, Acosta-Pomar L (1995) Particulate matter composition and bacterial distribution in Terra Nova Bay (Antarctica) during summer 1989–1990. Polar Biol 15: 393–400CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Fabiano M, Povero P, Danovaro R (1996) Particulate organic matter composition in Terra Nova Bay (Antarctica) during summer 1990. Ant Sc 8 (1): 7–13Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Fabiano M, Chiantore M, Povero P, Cattaneo-Vietti R, Pusceddu A, Misic C, Albertelli G (1997) Short-term variations in particulate matter flux in Terra Nova Bay, Ross Sea. Ant Sc 9 (2): 143–149Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Karl DM (1980) Cellular nucleotide measurements and applications in microbial ecology. Microb Rev 44: 739–796Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Artegiani A, Azzolini R, Paschini E, Creazzo S (1991) Physical oceanographic conditions in the Southern Pacific Ocean and in the Western Ross Sea. National Scientific Commission for Antarctica, Ocean Cruise 1989–1990. Data Report II: 5–62Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Fabiano M, Povero P, Catalano G, Benedetti F (1991) Hydrological data collected during the biological chemical and geological sampling in Terra Nova Bay. National Scientific Commission for Antarctica, Ocean Cruise 1989–1990. Data Report I: 35–71Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Innamorati M, Lazzara L, Mori G, Nuccio C, Saggiomo V (1991) Phytoplankton ecology. National Scientific Commission for Antarctica, Ocean Cruise 1989–1990. Data Report I: 141–252Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Strickland JDH, Parsons TR (1972) A practical handbook of seawater analysis. Bull Fish Res Board Can 167: 1–158Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Dubois M, Gilles KA, Hamilton JK, Rebers PA, Smith F (1956) Colorimetric method for determi-nation of sugars and related substances. Anal Chem 28: 350–356CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Hartree EF (1972) Determination of proteins: a modification of the Lowry method that gives linear photometric response. Anal Biochem 48: 422–427CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Bligh EG, Dyer W (1959) A rapid method for total lipid extraction and purification. Can J Biochem Physiol 37: 911–917CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Marsh JB, Weinstein WJ (1959) A simple charring method for determination of lipids. J Lipid Res 7: 574–576Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Holm-Hansen O, Booth CR (1966) The measurement of adenosine triphosphate in the ocean and its ecological significance. Limnol Oceanogr 11: 510–519CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Bulleid NC (1978) An improved method for extraction of adenosine triphosphate from marine sediments and seawater. Limnol Oceanogr 23: 174–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Cota GF, Kottmeier ST, Robinson DH, Smith WO Jr, Sullivan CW (1990) Bacterioplankton in the marginal ice zone of the Weddel, Sea: biomass, production and metabolic activities during austral autumn. Deep Sea Res 37: 1145–1167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Hewes CD, Sakshaug E, Reid FMH, Holm-Hansen 0 (1990) Microbial autotrophic and heterotrophic eucaryotes in Antarctic waters: relationships between biomass and chlorophyll, adenosine triphosphate and particulate organic carbon. Mar Ecol Progr Ser 63: 27–35Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Johnson PW, Sieburth J (1982) In situ morphology and occurrence of eucaryotic phototrophs of bacterial size in the picoplankton of estuarine and oceanic waters. J Phycol 18:318–327 Fichez R (1991) Suspended particulate organic matter in submarine cave. Mar Biol 108: 167–174Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Hecq JH, Brasseur P, Goffart A, Lacroix G, Guglielmo L (1993) Modelling approach of the planktonic vertical structure in deep austral ocean. The example of Ross Sea ecosystem. Proceedings of Annual Workshop on Belgian Oceanographic Research. Royal Academy of Belgium, pp 235–250Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Ittekot V, Degens ET, Brockmann U (1982) Monosaccharide composition of acid-hydrolizable carbohydrates in particulate matter during a plankton bloom. Limnol Oceanogr 27: 770–776CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Liebezeit G (1984) Particulate carbohydrates in relation to phytoplankton in the euphotic zone of the Bransfield Strait. Polar Biol 2: 225–228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Taylor GT, Karl DM, Pace ML (1986) Impact of bacteria and zooflagellates on the composition of the sinking particles: an in situ experiment. Mar Ecol Progr Ser 29: 141–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Karl DM, Knauer GA, Martin JH (1988) Downward flux of particulate organic matter in the ocean: a particle decomposition paradox. Nature 332: 438–441CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Banse K (1990) New views on the degradation and deposition of organic particles as collected by sediment traps in the open sea. Deep-Sea Res 37: 1177–1195CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia, Milano 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Fabiano
    • 1
  • R. Danovaro
    • 2
  • P. Povero
    • 1
  1. 1.Istituto di Scienze Ambientali MarineUniversità di GenovaS. Margherita L., GenovaItaly
  2. 2.Cattedra di Ecologia, Facoltà di ScienzeUniversità di AnconaAnconaItaly

Personalised recommendations