On biotic and abiotic drivers of the microphytobenthos seasonal cycle in a temperate intertidal mudflat: a modelling study

Abstract : Microphytobenthos (MPB) from intertidal mudflats are key primary producers at the land-ocean interface. MPB can be more productive than phytoplankton and sustain both benthic and pelagic higher trophic levels. The objective of this study is to assess the contribution of light, mud temperature, and gastropod Peringia ulvae grazing pressure in shaping the seasonal MPB dynamics on the Brouage mudflat (NW France). We use a physical-biological coupled model applied to the sediment first centimeter for the year 2008. The simulated data compare to observations including time-coincident remotely sensed and in situ data. The model suggests a MPB annual cycle characterised by a main spring bloom, a biomass depression in summer, and a moderate fall bloom. In early spring, high simulated photosynthetic rates due to mud surface temperature (MST) values close to the MPB temperature optimum for photosynthesis and to increasing solar irradiance trigger the onset of the MPB spring bloom. Simulated peaks of high P. ulvae grazing (11 days during which ingestion rates exceed primary production rate) mostly contribute to the decline of the MPB bloom along with the temperature limitation for MPB growth. In late spring-summer, the MPB biomass depression is due to the combined effect of thermo-inhibition and a moderate but sustained grazing pressure. The model ability to infer on biotic and abiotic mechanisms driving the seasonal MPB dynamics could open the door to a new assessment of the export flux of biogenic matter from the coast to the open ocean and, more generally, of the contribution of productive intertidal biofilms to the coastal carbon cycle.
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Raphaël Savelli, Christine Dupuy, Laurent Barillé, Astrid Lerouxel, Katell Guizien, et al.. On biotic and abiotic drivers of the microphytobenthos seasonal cycle in a temperate intertidal mudflat: a modelling study. Biogeosciences, European Geosciences Union, 2018, 15 (23), pp.7243-7271. ⟨hal-01946697⟩

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