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Title: Fertilization of the coastal waters of the Canary Islands by the diazotrophic cyanobacterium Trichodesmium
Authors: Fernández Gómez, Beatriz 
Palacios Castillo, Lucía 
Trebec, Aja 
Marín Samper, Laura 
Montero del Pino, María F. 
Hernández-Hernández, Nauzet 
Gómez Letona, Markel 
Gelado Caballero, María Dolores 
Menéndez González, Inmaculada 
Coca, Josep 
González Pérez, Acorayda 
Espino Caballero, Minerva 
Soler Onís, Emilio 
Gómez Pinchetti, Juan Luis 
Herrera Pérez, Rogelio 
Benavides Gorostegui, Mar 
Arístegui Ruiz, Javier 
UNESCO Clasification: 251001 Oceanografía biológica
241707 Algología (ficología)
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: Servicio de Publicaciones y Difusión Científica de la Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC) 
Project: Fertilización de la Producción Marina en Canarias Por Trichodesmium 
Conference: VIII International Symposium on Marine Sciences (ISMS 2022) 
Abstract: Trichodesmium is a filamentous diazotrophic cyanobacterium commonly found in tropical and subtropical oceans. During the last decade, the unabated increase in water temperature, together with periods of intense dust events and decrease in wind intensity, have resulted into recurrent Trichodesmium blooms around the Canary Islands. Soon after the colonies of Trichodesmium aggregate at convergence surface fronts, cells collapse and die liberating high concentrations of inorganic and organic nutrients to the water column. This could favor the growth of other planktonic organisms, thus acting as a fertilizer in the marine food web. In order to test this hypothesis, we carried out a monitoring program in coastal waters south of Gran Canaria with a biweekly to monthly sampling to track Trichodesmium blooms and their impact on the planktonic food web. We observed that patches of Trichodesmium were more frequent during summer in the lee of the island, coinciding with higher temperatures and stratified conditions. Waters below the patches showed increases in inorganic nutrient concentrations up to 10 fold for NOx, 4 fold for NH4 and 40 fold for PO4, with respect to ambient concentrations. Likewise, dissolved organic carbon and nitrogen increased up to 45 and 60 fold, respectively, over average concentrations. We also found that chlorophyll a increased several fold, as result of enhancements in the abundances of small and large eukaryotes. Moreover, it was observed higher abundances of dinoflagellates (some potentially toxic), probably benefiting from high dissolved organic matter available. Our results suggest that under a future warmer and more stratified subtropical ocean that would reduce water mixing and hence nutrient inputs, Trichodesmium may thrive and alleviate the reduction in productivity by fertilizing the surface waters after dying, through nutrients’ leaching. But also, our results point out to a future potential enhancement of toxic dinoflagellate blooms associated with these patches.
ISBN: 978-84-9042-477-3
Source: Abstracts Volume VIII International Symposium on Marine Sciences, July 2022 / coordinación, María Esther Torres Padrón, p. 428-429
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