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Bacterial response to dust pulses in the western Mediterranean: Implications for carbon cycling in the oligotrophic ocean

Abstract : [1] The bacterial response to dust pulses was investigated in the Mediterranean Sea through a combined field and experimental study. During the stratification period, characterized by a nutrient-starved mixed layer isolated from the depth, a Saharan dust event (2.6 gm(-2)) induced a 1.5-fold increase in bacterial abundance (BA) and a 2-fold increase in bacterial respiration (BR). Experimental dust additions (equivalent to fluxes of 5 and 20 g m(-2)) to bacteria natural assemblages also stimulated BA (between 2- and 4-fold increases) and BR (between 1.5- and 3-fold increases). Pooling the in situ and experimental data, linear relationships were obtained between dust concentration and BA (r(2) = 0.86; p < 0.01) and BR (r(2) = 0.89; p < 0.001). The dust-induced bacterial bloom resulted in a C mineralization of 0.5 g m(-2), which may represent up to 70% of bioavailable DOC annually exported to the depth in the Mediterranean. These results demonstrate that heterotrophic bacteria may play a much larger role in the connections between dust and the ocean carbon cycle than previously recognized and highlight the need for a more accurate understanding of how dust pulses may affect C export in the oligotrophic ocean.
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Submitted on : Thursday, April 26, 2012 - 10:07:04 AM
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Elvira Pulido-Villena, Thibaut Wagener, Cecile Guieu. Bacterial response to dust pulses in the western Mediterranean: Implications for carbon cycling in the oligotrophic ocean. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, American Geophysical Union, 2008, 22, pp.GB1020. ⟨10.1029/2007GB003091⟩. ⟨hal-00691377⟩

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