Seasonal metabolism and carbon export potential of a key coastal habitat: the perennial canopy-forming macroalga Fucus vesiculosus

Karl Attard, I. Rodil, P. Berg, J. Norkko, A. Norkko, Ronnie N. Glud

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Abstrakt

The important role of macroalgal canopies in the oceanic carbon (C) cycle is increasingly being recognized, but direct assessments of community productivity remain scarce. We conducted a seasonal study on a sublittoral Baltic Sea canopy of the brown alga Fucus vesiculosus, a prominent species in temperate and Arctic waters. We investigated community production on hourly, daily, and seasonal timescales. Aquatic eddy covariance (AEC) oxygen flux measurements integrated ~ 40 m2 of the seabed surface area and documented considerable oxygen production by the canopy year‐round. High net oxygen production rates of up to 35 ± 9 mmol m−2 h−1 were measured under peak irradiance of ~ 1200 μmol photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) m−2 s−1 in summer. However, high rates > 15 mmol m−2 h−1 were also measured in late winter (March) under low light intensities < 250 μmol PAR m−2 s−1 and water temperatures of ~ 1°C. In some cases, hourly AEC fluxes documented an apparent release of oxygen by the canopy under dark conditions, which may be due to gas storage dynamics within internal air spaces of F. vesiculosus. Daily net ecosystem metabolism (NEM) was positive (net autotrophic) in all but one of the five measurement campaigns (December). A simple regression model predicted a net autotrophic canopy for two‐thirds of the year, and annual canopy NEM amounted to 25 mol O2 m−2 yr−1, approximately six‐fold higher than net phytoplankton production. Canopy C export was ~ 0.3 kg C m−2 yr−1, comparable to canopy standing biomass in summer. Macroalgal canopies thus represent regions of intensified C assimilation and export in coastal waters.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftLimnology and Oceanography
Vol/bind64
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)149-164
ISSN0024-3590
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 24. jan. 2019

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