Primary production and distribution of phytopigments in the water column and sediments on the upwelling shelf off the Mauritanian coast (Northwest Africa)

  • E. M. Berghuis
  • G. C. A. Duineveld
  • J. Hegeman
Conference paper
Part of the Developments in Hydrobiology 86 book series (DIHY, volume 86)


In May 1988, water and sediments of the shelf area off the Banc d’Arguin were studied for plant pigments and organic carbon. Phytoplankton primary production was also measured and sedimentation of organic matter was estimated using moored sediment traps. On the basis of simultaneous hydrographic measurements, two water types could be distinguished. Upwelling water covered the southern shelf and the outer part of the northern shelf. The other water type had more coastal characteristics and covered the inshore part of the northern transect. The distribution of chlorophyll a and particulate organic carbon conformed with the distribution of the two water types. A similarity analysis of the pigments from the sediment traps showed a difference in the composition of the algal material depositing from the two water types. The primary production was also found to be distinctly different, i.e. higher in the coastal water type. The pigments in the surface sediments did not reflect the respective overlying water types due to the increasing accumulation of pigments at the offshore stations of the northern transect. This accumulation seems to correspond with the progressive reduction of the benthic respiratory activity in an offshore direction. Along the southern transect such a relation could not be established, i.e. pigment accumulation along the shelf edge was not apparent. Special attention was paid to the presence of specific seagrass pigments on the shelf. No evidence for a major influx of seagrass material was found.

Key words

primary production plant pigments sediment trap Mauritanian shelf 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Cadée, G. C, 1982. Tidal and seasonal variation in particulate and dissolved organic carbon in the western Dutch Wadden Sea and Marsdiep tidal inlet. Neth. J. Sea Res. 15: 228–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Christensen, J. P. & T. T. Packard, 1977. Sediment metabolism from the northwest African upwelling system. Deep Sea Res. 24: 331–343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Duineveld, G. C. A., P. A. W. J. de Wilde, E. M. Berghuis & A. Kok, 1993. The benthic infauna and benthic respiration off the Banc d’Arguin (Mauritania, Northwest Africa). Hydrobiologia 258: 107–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Everitt, D. A., S. W. Wright, J. K. Volkman, D. P. Thomas & E. J. Lindstrom, 1990. Phytoplankton community compositions in the western equatorial Pacific determined from chlorophyll and carotenoid pigment distributions. Deep Sea Res. 37: 975–997.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Gieskes, W. W. C. & G. W. Kraay, 1983. Dominance of Cryptophyceae during the phytoplankton spring bloom in the central North Sea detected by HPLC analysis of pigments. Mar. Biol. 75: 179–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Gieskes, W. W. C, G. W. Kraay, A. Nontji, D. Setiapermana & Sutomo, 1990. Monsoonal differences in primary production in the eastern Banda Sea. Neth. J. Sea Res. 25: 473–483.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Kruskal, J. B., 1964. Nonmetric multidimensional scaling: a numerical method. Psychometrika 29: 115–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Kuipers, B. R., H. J. Witte & S. R. Gonzalez, 1993. Zooplankton distribution in the coastal upwelling system along the Banc d’Arguin, Mauritania. Hydrobiologia 258: 133–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Loktionov, Y., 1993 Hydrological observations west of the Banc d’Arguin, Mauritania, in May 1988. Hydrobiologia 258: 21–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Lorenzen, C. J., 1967. Determination of chlorophyll and phaeopigments. Spectrophotometric equations. Limnol. Oceanogr. 12: 343–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Menzel, D. W. & R. F. Vaccaro, 1964. The measurement of dissolved and particulate carbon in seawater. Limnol. Oceanogr. 9: 138–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Minas, H. J., L. A. Codispoti & R. C. Dugdale, 1982. Nutrients and primary production in the upwelling region off Northwest Africa. Rapp. P.-v. Réun. Cons. int. Explor. Mer 180: 148–183.Google Scholar
  13. Mittelstaedt, E., 1976. On the currents along the northwest African coast south of 22° North. Dt. hydrogr. Z. 29: 97–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Nichols, J. & G. T. Rowe, 1977. Infaunal macrobenthos off Cap Blanc, Spanish Sahara. J. mar. Res. 35: 525–536.Google Scholar
  15. Peters, H., 1976. The spreading of the water masses of the Banc d’Arguin in the upwelling area off the northern Mauritanian coast. ‘Meteor’ Forsch Ergebn. A 18: 78–100.Google Scholar
  16. Pfannkuche, O., R. Theeg & H. Thiel, 1983. Benthos activity, abundance and biomass under an area of low upwelling off Morocco, Northwest Africa. ‘Meteor’ Forsch Ergebn. D 36: 85–96.Google Scholar
  17. Reyssac, J., 1977. Hydrologie, phytoplancton et production primaire de la baie du Lévrier et du Banc d’Arguin. Bull. Inst. Franç. Afrique Noire, Sér. A, T. 39: 487–554.Google Scholar
  18. Steemann Nielsen, E., 1952. The use of radioactive carbon (C14) for measuring organic production in the Sea. J. Cons, perm. int. Explor. Mer 18: 117–140.Google Scholar
  19. Strickland, J. D. H. & T. R. Parsons, 1968. A practical handbook of seawater analysis. Bull. Fish. Res. Bd Can. 167: 1–311.Google Scholar
  20. Van den Hoeck, C., 1978. Algen. Einführung in die Phykologie. Thieme Verlag, Stuttgart, 481 pp.Google Scholar
  21. Veldhuis, M. & G. W. Kraay, 1990. Vertical distribution and pigment composition of a picoplanktonic prochlorophyte in the subtropical North Atlantic: a combined study of HPLC-analysis of pigments and flow cytometry. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 68: 121–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Weichart, G., 1974. Meereschemische Untersuchungen im nordwestafrikanischen Auftriebsgebiet 1968. ‘Meteor’ Forsch Ergebn. A 14: 33–70.Google Scholar
  23. Wolff, W. J. & C. J. Smit, 1990. The Banc d’Arguin, Mauritania, as an environment for coastal birds. Ardea 78: 17–38.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. M. Berghuis
    • 1
  • G. C. A. Duineveld
    • 1
  • J. Hegeman
    • 1
  1. 1.Netherlands Institute for Sea ResearchTexelThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations