Contrasting patterns of phytoplankton pigments and chemotaxonomic groups along 30 degrees S in the subtropical South Atlantic Ocean
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Contrasting patterns of phytoplankton pigments and chemotaxonomic groups along 30 degrees S in the subtropical South Atlantic Ocean
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    Deep-Sea Research Part I-Oceanographic Research Papers, 120, 112-121.
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    This work describes the spatial distribution of pigments and main taxonomic groups of phytoplankton in the biogeochemical provinces of the subtropical South Atlantic Ocean, along 30 degrees S latitude. Seawater samples (surface to 200 m depth) were collected along 120 oceanographic stations occupied in the early austral spring of 2011, during a CLIVAR Repeat Hydrography cruise. The pigments were identified and quantified by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), and CHEMTAX software was used to determine the relative contributions of the main taxonomic groups to total chlorophyll a (phytoplankton biomass index). Sampling stations were grouped into three provinces: Africa, Gyre, and Brazil, corresponding to the eastern, central, and western sectors of the transect, respectively. Our results showed that both vertical and horizontal distribution patterns of pigments and taxonomic groups were mainly determined by the availability of light and/or nutrients. Photosynthetic carotenoids (PSCs), associated with small flagellates (mainly haptophytes), dominated the light limited and nutrient-enhanced deep chlorophyll maximum (DCM) layers of both the Brazil and Gyre provinces, as well as the upwelling influenced surface waters of the Africa province. The latter showed the highest chlorophyll a values (> 1 mg m(-3)) and abundance of dinoflagellates in the coastal region. Photoprotective carotenoids (PPCs) were predominant in the nutrient-poor and well-lit surface layers of the Brazil and Gyre provinces, associated with a low content of chlorophyll a (similar to 0.1 mg m(-3)) and dominance of prokaryotes (Synechoccocus and Prochloroccocus). This study demonstrates that pigment analysis can provide a useful approach to better understand the distribution of phytoplankton communities along physical-chemical gradients in a still undersampled region of the South Atlantic Ocean.
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