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Dissolved and particulate dna dynamics during a spring bloom in the antarctic peninsula region 1986 87



Dissolved and particulate dna dynamics during a spring bloom in the antarctic peninsula region 1986 87



Deep-Sea Research Part A Oceanographic Research Papers 38(8-9): 1077-1095



Dissolved and particulate DNA (D-DNA and P-DNA, respectively) concentrations were measured at 69 stations in a 25,000 km2 section of Bransfield Strait, during the austral summer period (December 1986 to March 1987). During the development of the seasonal spring bloom of phytoplankton (December and January), surface water P-DNA (0.2-202 .mu.m) exhibited an order-of-magnitude concentration gradient, from values of .gtoreq. 25 .mu.g DNA l-1 in the productive coastal waters near the northern end of Gerlache Strait to .ltoreq.4 .mu.g DNA l-1 in the more oligotrophic waters of Drake Passage. P-DNA concentrations were highly correlated with other biochemical indices of microbial biomass (e.g. chlorophyll a and ATP). A majority (.gtoreq. 50%) of the P-DNA was contained in the 0.2-20 .mu.m size category. Estimates derived from DNA:ATP ratios and from direct measurements of bacterial cell abundance suggest that most of the P-DNA during the spring bloom period was associated with living phtoplankton cells, with little, if any, non-living, P-DNA. In contrast to these characteristics of the spring bloom period, P-DNA during post-bloom conditions (March) was low (4-6 .mu.g DNA l-1) and nearly constant throughout our study area, was nearly exclusively (.gtoreq. 80%) contained in the 0.2-20 .mu.m size category, and was nearly exclusively (.gtoreq. 90%) comprised of non-living DNA. D-DNA was ubiquitously distributed in the near-surface waters throughout the RACER study area in December, with concentrations ranging from 6 to 16 .mu.g DNA l-1. However, there was no spatial correlation with either microbial biomass or microbial productivity. By January, surface water D-DNA concentration had decreased to values .ltoreq. 10% of the December values (.ltoreq. 1 .mu.g DNA l-1), and by the February to march smapling periods, D-DNA was undetectable throughout our study areas (.ltoreq. 0.1 .mu.g DNA l-1). The dynamics of the D-DNA pools were not well correlated with microbial biomass and production. Rather, the seasonal D-DNA distributions appeared to be controlled by the advection of D-DNA enriched water masses across our study area in December, followed by replacement with D-DNA depleted waters. We hypothesize that the early season D-DNA may be derived from microbial communities in melting ice or from diagenesis in shallow benthic habitats. The results of a box model calculation of P-DNA and D-DNA inventories and fluxes in Bransfield Strait suggest that the northern Gerlache Strait is a major exporter of P-DNA, either as a result of horizontal advection or active transport of macrozooplankton populations.

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