Response of the phytoplankton size fractions along environmental gradients from an oxygen minimum zone in the central Mexican Pacific

David U. Hernández-Becerril, Francisco Varona-Cordero, Francisco J. Gutiérrez-Mendieta, Erick J. Ponce-Manjarrez, Martín Merino-Ibarra, Sofía A. Barón-Campis, Alex U. Vargas-Reyes

Submited: 2023-07-12 04:38:02 | Published: 2024-06-30 20:15:52

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3856/vol52-issue3-fulltext-3124

Abstract


The marine phytoplankton community responds to latitudinal, longitudinal (coast to ocean), and vertical environmental gradients, an important subject in Oxygen minimum zones (OMZ). The phytoplankton structure and the effect of environmental gradients along the central Mexican Pacific, an area within an OMZ, were studied, especially the importance of size fractions and taxonomic groups. A combination of various methods and protocols, such as microscopic analysis, flow cytometer, and pigment analysis, were followed in this study. Oceanographic conditions included thermal gradients along the study area and unreported evidence of a weak upwelling in the southern zone (Acapulco). Vertical distribution of chlorophyll a showed subsurface maxima (SCM, 15-45 m depth) in all stations, and deeper chlorophyll-a maxima (DCM, 85-95 m depth) in more oceanic stations. Chain-forming diatoms dominated in the northern zone stations. Prochlorococcus, Synechococcus, and picoeukaryotes abundances ranged between 0.01 to 21.7 cells×104 mL-1, although most samples showed the highest contribution to biomass (47.95 μg C L-1) by picoeukaryotes. Expected tendencies of Prochlorococcus distribution were observed: highest densities coincided with the DCM and divinyl chlorophyll-a distribution at oceanic stations. Fucoxanthin had the highest concentrations, whereas fucoxanthin and zeaxanthin concentrations were higher at SCM depths. We documented the co-dominance of the pico- and microplankton: picoplankton was important at the DCM, related to oligotrophic and more stratified water column, whereas microplankton prevailed in coastal stations, with mixed water column, high nutrient concentrations, and diatoms as the dominant group. Picoeukaryotes abundances were related to the concentration of prasinoxanthin, which suggests an important mamiellophyte component not previously revealed.

Hernández-Becerril D, Varona-Cordero F, Gutiérrez-Mendieta F, Ponce-Manjarrez E, Merino-Ibarra M, Barón-Campis S, Vargas-Reyes A. Response of the phytoplankton size fractions along environmental gradients from an oxygen minimum zone in the central Mexican Pacific. Lat. Am. J. Aquat. Res.. 2024;52(3): 416-442. Available from: doi:10.3856/vol52-issue3-fulltext-3124 [Accessed 19 Jul. 2024].
Hernández-Becerril, D., Varona-Cordero, F., Gutiérrez-Mendieta, F., Ponce-Manjarrez, E., Merino-Ibarra, M., Barón-Campis, S., & Vargas-Reyes, A. (2024). Response of the phytoplankton size fractions along environmental gradients from an oxygen minimum zone in the central Mexican Pacific. Latin American Journal of Aquatic Research, 52(3), 416-442. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.3856/vol52-issue3-fulltext-3124