Community structure and grazing of the nano-microzooplankton on the continental shelf of the Bay of Biscay

Christine Dupuy, Agathe Talarmin, Hans J. Hartmann, Daniel Delmas, C. Courties, Elise Marquis

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    In order to investigate the parameters controlling the heterotrophic protists (nano-microzooplankton) on the continental shelf of the southern Bay of Biscay, plankton communities and their physico-chemical environment were studied 4 times in February, April, June and September-October 2004 at three stations in the euphotic zone in the Bay of Biscay. The abundance and carbon biomass of heterotrophic protists (ciliates, heterotrophic dinoflagellates and nanoflagellates) as well as all the others groups of plankton (picoplankton, nanophytoplankton, diatoms, autotrophic dinoflagellates, metazoan microzooplankton and mesozooplankton), the environmental parameters and the primary and bacteria production were evaluated at each sampling period. Microzooplankton grazing experiments were undertaken at the same time. Ciliates and heterotrophic dinoflagellates accounted for the main major component of nano- and microzooplankton communities in term of biomass. The total carbon biomass of heterotrophic protists was highest in spring and lowest at the end of summer. The development of heterotrophic protists started after a winter microphytoplankton bloom (principally large diatoms), the biomass was lower in June and was low in September (through inappropriate prey). The carbon requirement of microzooplankton ranged from 50 to more than 100% of daily primary, bacterial and nanoflagellate production. The heterotrophic protist community was predominantly constrained by bottom-up control in spring and at the end of summer via food availability and quality.

    Original languageBritish English
    Pages (from-to)1-13
    Number of pages13
    JournalEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - 1 Nov 2011


    • Bacteria
    • Bay of Biscay
    • Environmental factors
    • Grazing
    • Heterotrophic protists
    • Mesozooplankton
    • Size-fractionated phytoplankton


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