Thomalla S.J., Dr Marie-Fanny Racault, Swart S., Monteiro P.M.S.
Abstract

In the Southern Ocean, there is increasing evidence that seasonal to subseasonal temporal scales, and meso- to submesoscales play an important role in understanding the sensitivity of ocean primary productivity to climate change. This drives the need for a high-resolution approach to resolving biogeochemical processes. In this study, 5.5 months of continuous, high-resolution (3 h, 2 km horizontal resolution) glider data from spring to summer in the Atlantic Subantarctic Zone is used to investigate: (i) the mechanisms that drive bloom initiation and high growth rates in the region and (ii) the seasonal evolution of water column production and respiration. Bloom initiation dates were analysed in the context of upper ocean boundary layer physics highlighting sensitivities of different bloom detection methods to different environmental processes. Model results show that in early spring (September to mid-November) increased rates of net community production (NCP) are strongly affected by meso- to submesoscale features. In late spring/early summer (late-November to mid-December) seasonal shoaling of the mixed layer drives a more spatially homogenous bloom with maximum rates of NCP and chlorophyll biomass. A comparison of biomass accumulation rates with a study in the North Atlantic highlights the sensitivity of phytoplankton growth to fine-scale dynamics and emphasizes the need to sample the ocean at high resolution to accurately resolve phytoplankton phenology and improve our ability to estimate the sensitivity of the biological carbon pump to climate change.

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Time series of (a) modelled MLD and water column integrated NPP (mg C m-2 d-1), (b) modelled respiration (mg C m-2 d-1) (Sverdrup 1953), with standard mean error (shaded area), (c) same as for (c) but for NCP (mg C m-2 d-1), and (d) f-ratio approximation of the export efficiency (PP/mean NCP) (solid line).

Time series of (a) modelled MLD and water column integrated NPP (mg C m-2 d-1), (b) modelled respiration (mg C m-2 d-1) (Sverdrup 1953), with standard mean error (shaded area), (c) same as for (c) but for NCP (mg C m-2 d-1), and (d) f-ratio approximation of the export efficiency (PP/mean NCP) (solid line).

Abstract

In the Southern Ocean there is increasing evidence that seasonal to sub-seasonal temporal scales, meso- and submesoscales play an important role in understanding the sensitivity of ocean primary productivity to climate change. In this study, high-resolution glider data (3 hourly, 2km horizontal resolution), from ~6 months of sampling (spring through summer) in the Sub-Antarctic Zone, is used to assess 1) the different forcing mechanisms driving variability in upper ocean physics and 2) how these may characterize the seasonal cycle of phytoplankton production. Results highlight the important role meso- to submesoscale features have in driving vertical stratification and early phytoplankton bloom initiations in spring by increasing light exposure. In summer, the combined role of solar heat flux, mesoscale features and subseasonal storms on the extent of the mixed layer is proposed to regulate both light and iron to the upper ocean at appropriate time scales for phytoplankton growth, thereby sustaining the bloom for an extended period through to late summer. This study highlights the need for climate models to resolve both meso- to submesoscale and subseasonal processes in order to accurately reflect the phenology of the phytoplankton community and understand the sensitivity of ocean primary productivity to climate change.

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Glider sections of (a) temperature (°C), (b) stratification and (c) chlorophyll-a concentration (mg m-3) during the 'spring bloom initiation phase' of SOSCEx. The MLD is depicted using a white curve.

Glider sections of (a) temperature (°C), (b) stratification and (c) chlorophyll-a concentration (mg m-3) during the ‘spring bloom initiation phase’ of SOSCEx. The MLD is depicted using a white curve.

Swart S., Liu, J., Bhaskar, P., Newman, L., Finney, K., Meredith, M., Schofield, O.
Abstract

The first Southern Ocean Observing System (SOOS) Asian Workshop was successfully held in Shanghai, China in May 2013, attracting over 40 participants from six Asian nations and widening exposure to the objectives and plans of SOOS. The workshop was organized to clarify Asian research activities currently taking place in the Southern Ocean and to discuss, amongst other items, the potential for collaborative efforts with and between Asian countries in SOOS-related activities. The workshop was an important mechanism to initiate discussion, understanding and collaborative avenues in the Asian domain of SOOS beyond current established efforts. Here we present some of the major outcomes of the workshop covering the principle themes of SOOS and attempt to provide a way forward to achieve a more integrated research community, enhance data collection and quality, and guide scientific strategy in the Southern Ocean.

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Map of the Southern Ocean and approximate location of regular shipping transects maintained by Asian nations.

Map of the Southern Ocean and approximate location of regular shipping transects maintained by Asian nations.

Ryan-Keogh T J, Macey, A.I., Lucas M., Steigenberger, S.S., Stinchcombe, M.C., Achterberg, E.P., Bibby, T.S., Moore, C.M.
Abstract

The high-latitude North Atlantic (HLNA) is characterized by a marked seasonal phytoplankton bloom, which removes the majority of surface macronutrients. However, incomplete nitrate depletion is frequently observed during summer in the region, potentially reflecting the seasonal development of an iron (Fe) limited phytoplankton community. In order to investigate the seasonal development and spatial extent of iron stress in the HLNA, nutrient addition experiments were performed during the spring (May) and late summer (July and August) of 2010. Grow-out experiments (48–120 h) confirmed the potential for iron limitation in the region. Short-term (24 h) incubations further enabled high spatial coverage and mapping of phytoplankton physiological responses to iron addition. The difference in the apparent maximal photochemical yield of photosystem II (PSII) (Fv : Fm) between nutrient (iron) amended and control treatments (Δ(Fv : Fm)) was used as a measure of the relative degree of iron stress. The combined observations indicated variability in the seasonal cycle of iron stress between different regions of the Irminger and Iceland Basins of the HLNA, related to the timing of the annual bloom cycle in contrasting biogeochemical provinces. Phytoplankton iron stress developed during the transition from the prebloom to peak bloom conditions in the HLNA and was more severe for larger cells. Subsequently, iron stress was reduced in regions where macronutrients were depleted following the bloom. Iron availability plays a significant role in the biogeochemistry of the HLNA, potentially lowering the efficiency of one of the strongest biological carbon pumps in the ocean.

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HLNA Fig 8

(a) In situ chlorophyll data (μg L-1) and relative degree of Fe stress (Δ(Fv:Fm)+2.0 Fe), (b) in situ DIN (μmol L-1) data and Δ(Fv:Fm)+2.0 Fe and in situ DIN and different in net chlorophyll growth rate following Fe addition (ΔμChl (d-1)) relative to time of peak of bloom. Superimposed on panel (c) conceptualised model of bloom dynamics, demonstrating two different post-bloom scenarios (low DIN and high DIN) associated with different degrees of Fe stress and iron limited growth rates.

Abstract

Two sets of high-resolution subsurface hydrographic and underway surface chlorophyll a (Chl a) measurements are used, in conjunction with satellite remotely sensed data, to investigate the upper layer oceanography (mesoscale features and mixed layer depth variability) and phytoplankton biomass at the GoodHope line south of Africa, during the 2010–2011 austral summer. The link between physical parameters of the upper ocean, specifically frontal activity, to the spatially varying in situ and satellite measurements of Chl a concentrations is investigated. The observations provide evidence to show that the fronts act to both enhance phytoplankton biomass as well as to delimit regions of similar chlorophyll concentrations, although the front–chlorophyll relationships become obscure towards the end of the growing season due to bloom advection and ‘patchy’ Chl a behaviour. Satellite ocean colour measurements are compared to in situ chlorophyll measurements to assess the disparity between the two sampling techniques. The scientific value of the time-series of oceanographic observations collected at the GoodHope line between 2004 to present is being realised. Continued efforts in this programme are essential to better understand both the physical and biogeochemical dynamics of the upper ocean in the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean.

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Relationship between in situ and Globcolour Chl a concentrations at the GH line in December (black) and February (grey). The 1:1 slope is depicted by the grey line.

Relationship between in situ and Globcolour Chl a concentrations at the GH line in December (black) and February (grey). The 1:1
slope is depicted by the grey line.

Abstract

One of the important gaps in the reliable prediction of the response of the Southern Ocean carbon cycle to climate change is its sensitivity to seasonal, subseasonal forcings (in time) and mesoscales (in space). The Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observatory (SOCCO), a CSIR-led consortium, is planning the Southern Ocean Seasonal Cycle Experiment (SOSCEx), which will be a new type of large-scale experiment. SOSCEx reflects a shift from the historical focus on ship-based descriptive Southern Ocean oceanography and living resource conservation, to system-scale dynamics studies spanning much greater time and space scales. The experiment provides a new and unprecedented opportunity to gain a better understanding of the links between climate drivers and ecosystem productivity and climate feedbacks in the Southern Ocean. This combined high-resolution approach to both observations and modelling experiments will permit us, for the first time, to address some key questions relating to the physical nature of the Southern Ocean and its carbon cycle.

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A space–time plot showing relative scale magnitudes of a number of platforms (ships, instrumented moorings and gliders), the seasonal cycle and climate projections. This graphical representation emphasises that, even with both ships and moorings observational platforms, it is not possible to address questions on the seasonal cycle sensitivity of climate projections without using autonomous platforms. Ocean gliders are uniquely poised to bridge the spatial and temporal gap between ships and moorings – a bridge which critically covers the seasonal 'window' in the Southern Ocean Seasonal Cycle Experiment.

A space–time plot showing relative scale magnitudes of a number of platforms (ships, instrumented moorings and gliders), the seasonal cycle and climate projections. This graphical representation emphasises that, even with both ships and moorings observational platforms, it is not possible to address questions on the seasonal cycle sensitivity of climate projections without using autonomous platforms. Ocean gliders are uniquely poised to bridge the spatial and temporal gap between ships and moorings – a bridge which critically covers the seasonal ‘window’ in the Southern Ocean Seasonal Cycle Experiment.

Ryan-Keogh T J, Macey, A.I., Cockshutt, A.M., Moore, C.M., Bibby, T.S.
Abstract

Iron availability limits primary production in >30% of the world’s oceans; hence phytoplankton have developed acclimation strategies. In particular, cyanobacteria express IsiA (iron-stress-induced) under iron stress, which can become the most abundant chl-binding protein in the cell. Within iron-limited oceanic regions with significant cyanobacterial biomass, IsiA may represent a significant fraction of the total chl. We spectroscopically measured the effective cross-section of the photosynthetic reaction center PSI (σPSI ) in vivo and biochemically quantified the absolute abundance of PSI, PSII, and IsiA in the model cyanobacterium Synechocystis  sp. PCC 6803. We demonstrate that accumulation of IsiA results in a 60% increase in σPSI , in agreement with the theoretical increase in cross-section based on the structure of the biochemically isolated IsiA-PSI supercomplex from cyanobacteria. Deriving a chl budget, we suggest that IsiA plays a primary role as a light-harvesting antenna for PSI. On progressive iron-stress in culture, IsiA continues to accumulate without a concomitant increase in σPSI , suggesting that there may be a secondary role for IsiA. In natural populations, the potential physiological significance of the uncoupled pool of IsiA remains to be established. However, the functional role as a PSI antenna suggests that a large fraction of IsiA-bound chl is directly involved in photosynthetic electron transport.

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Isia_figure3

The in vivo effective absorption cross-section of PSI (σPSI) measured on Synechocystis PCC 6803 under iron-replete (+Fe) and iron-deplete (-Fe) conditions. Displayed are results averaged from triplicates from three independent experiments with ±standard errors.

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