The Pew Oceans Commission - Kenyon College

The Pew Oceans Commission - Kenyon College

What are the components? What are the special environmental challenges? What are the special adaptations? How do we understand form & function?

What are the controlling processes? What are the important patterns? The area of open water of oceans, including the entire water column away

from the bottom substrates Nutrients and salts

Plankton Nekton

Size: virus (2 x 10-7 m) to jellyfish (0.2 m) Energy processing & nutritional modes photosynthetic (phytoplankton) heterotrophic, ingestive (zooplankton)

heterotrophic, absorptive (mycoplankton) infective (viroplankton) Life history variation

permanent residents transient members of the plankton community Diatoms Foraminifera

Dinoflagellates 20 km Baltic Sea 1 Coccolithophores

2 Diatoms 3 Eukaryotic picoplankton Maintaining access to nutrients, light, & resources

Avoid being food for larger consumers

Use water movements Convection cells (from diurnal cycles in heat) Langmuir convection cells from wind

Affect buoyancy Use lighter ions for osmotic balance (e.g., use chlorides rather than sulphates) Develop flotation organs (gas, oils, fats)

Manipulate resistance (use viscosity) parachute morphology elaborate appendages

Primary Productivity Different estimates of productivity

Gross Primary Productivity Net Primary Productivity Standing crop and Grazing Rates

primary productivity is defined as the total quantity of carbon fixed by autotrophs

a rate expressed as grams of carbon fixed per square meter of sea-surface per unit of time gross primary production is the total amount of organic matter produced by

autotrophs net primary production is the energy remaining after respiratory needs have been met NPP = Gross Primary Production - Respiration

Why should we care about patterns of biological productivity in oceans?

What are the spatial patterns of productivity? What mechanisms promote or limit

productivity? Photosynthetic activity in oceans created current O2-rich atmosphere

Plankton form ocean sediments & fossil fuels Plankton are a critical part of carbon pump that influences atmospheric CO2

Phytoplankton form the base of food webs and associated biological diversity

Limits to productivity may limit the amount of harvestable biomass from ocean ecosystems Standing crop methods

Chlorophyll concentration (water extraction, satellite) Cell counts (flow cytometers)

Rate measurements Light-dark bottle method Carbon-14 uptake

Advantages & disadvantages Simple models integrate different

parameters to estimate rates of productivity Model components (Field et al. Science 281:237-240) chlorophyll concentration

water depth in photic zone fraction of water column where photosynthesis is light-saturated surface temperature

average primary productivity in the oceans is ~50 g C/m2/yr 300 g C/m2/yr considered relatively high rate of primary productivity

low rates of primary productivity typically 20 to 30 g C/m2/yr

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