Dynamics of N<SUB>2</SUB> fixation and fate of diazotroph-derived nitrogen in a low nutrient low chlorophyll ecosystem: results from the VAHINE mesocosm experiment (New Caledonia) - INSU - Institut national des sciences de l'Univers Access content directly
Journal Articles Biogeosciences Discussions Year : 2015

Dynamics of N2 fixation and fate of diazotroph-derived nitrogen in a low nutrient low chlorophyll ecosystem: results from the VAHINE mesocosm experiment (New Caledonia)

S. Bonnet
K. Turk-Kubo
  • Function : Author
S. Fawcett
  • Function : Author
E. Rahav
  • Function : Author
I. Berman-Frank
  • Function : Author

Abstract

N2 fixation rates were measured daily in large (~ 50 m3) mesocosms deployed in the tropical South West Pacific coastal ocean (New Caledonia) to investigate the spatial and temporal dynamics of diazotrophy and the fate of diazotroph-derived nitrogen (DDN) in a low nutrient, low chlorophyll ecosystem. The mesocosms were intentionally fertilized with ~ 0.8 μM dissolved inorganic phosphorus (DIP) to stimulate diazotrophy. Bulk N2 fixation rates were replicable between the three mesocosms, averaged 18.5 ± 1.1 nmol N L-1 d-1 over the 23 days, and increased by a factor of two during the second half of the experiment (days 15 to 23) to reach 27.3 ± 1.0 nmol N L-1 d-1. These rates are higher than the upper range reported for the global ocean, indicating that the waters surrounding New Caledonia are particularly favourable for N2 fixation. During the 23 days of the experiment, N2 fixation rates were positively correlated with seawater temperature, primary production, bacterial production, standing stocks of particulate organic carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus, and alkaline phosphatase activity, and negatively correlated with DIP concentrations, DIP turnover time, nitrate, and dissolved organic nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations. The fate of DDN was investigated during the bloom of the unicellular diazotroph, UCYN-C, that occurred during the second half of the experiment. Quantification of diazotrophs in the sediment traps indicates that ~ 10 % of UCYN-C from the water column were exported daily to the traps, representing as much as 22.4 ± 5.5 % of the total POC exported at the height of the UCYN-C bloom. This export was mainly due to the aggregation of small (5.7 ± 0.8 μm) UCYN-C cells into large (100-500 μm) aggregates. During the same time period, a DDN transfer experiment based on high-resolution nanometer scale secondary ion mass spectrometry (nanoSIMS) coupled with 15N2 isotopic labelling revealed that 16 ± 6 % of the DDN was released to the dissolved pool and 21 ± 4 % was transferred to non-diazotrophic plankton, mainly picoplankton (18 ± 4 %) followed by diatoms (3 ± 2 %) within 24 h of incubation. This is consistent with the observed dramatic increase in picoplankton and diatom abundances, primary production, bacterial production and standing stocks of particulate organic carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus during the second half of the experiment in the mesocosms. These results offer insights into the fate of DDN during a bloom of UCYN-C in low nutrient, low chlorophyll ecosystems.
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insu-03580283 , version 1 (18-02-2022)

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S. Bonnet, H. Berthelot, K. Turk-Kubo, S. Fawcett, E. Rahav, et al.. Dynamics of N2 fixation and fate of diazotroph-derived nitrogen in a low nutrient low chlorophyll ecosystem: results from the VAHINE mesocosm experiment (New Caledonia). Biogeosciences Discussions, 2015, 12, pp.19579-19626. ⟨10.5194/bgd-12-19579-2015⟩. ⟨insu-03580283⟩
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