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Carbon-based Phytoplankton Size Classes Retrieved Via Ocean Color Estimates of the Particle Size Distribution : Volume 12, Issue 3 (06/05/2015)

By Kostadinov, T. S.

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Book Id: WPLBN0004020894
Format Type: PDF Article :
File Size: Pages 72
Reproduction Date: 2015

Title: Carbon-based Phytoplankton Size Classes Retrieved Via Ocean Color Estimates of the Particle Size Distribution : Volume 12, Issue 3 (06/05/2015)  
Author: Kostadinov, T. S.
Volume: Vol. 12, Issue 3
Language: English
Subject: Science, Ocean, Science
Collections: Periodicals: Journal and Magazine Collection, Copernicus GmbH
Publication Date:
Publisher: Copernicus Gmbh, Göttingen, Germany
Member Page: Copernicus Publications


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Cabré, A., Marinov, I., Milutinović, S., & Kostadinov, T. S. (2015). Carbon-based Phytoplankton Size Classes Retrieved Via Ocean Color Estimates of the Particle Size Distribution : Volume 12, Issue 3 (06/05/2015). Retrieved from

Description: Department of Geography and the Environment, 28 Westhampton Way, University of Richmond, Richmond, VA 23173, USA. Owing to their important roles in biogeochemical cycles, phytoplankton functional types (PFTs) have been the aim of an increasing number of ocean color algorithms. Yet, none of the existing methods are based on phytoplankton carbon (C) biomass, which is a fundamental biogeochemical and ecological variable and the unit of accounting in Earth System models. We present a novel bio-optical algorithm to retrieve size-partitioned phytoplankton carbon from ocean color satellite data. The algorithm is based on existing algorithms to estimate particle volume from a power-law particle size distribution (PSD). Volume is converted to carbon concentrations using a compilation of allometric relationships. We quantify absolute and fractional biomass in three PFTs based on size – picophytoplankton (0.5–2 Μm in diameter), nanophytoplankton (2–20 Μm) and microphytoplankton (20–50 Μm). The mean spatial distributions of total phytoplankton C biomass and individual PFTs, derived from global SeaWiFS monthly ocean color data, are consistent with current understanding of oceanic ecosystems, i.e. oligotrophic regions are characterized by low biomass and dominance of picoplankton, whereas eutrophic regions have large biomass to which nanoplankton and microplankton contribute relatively larger fractions. Global spatially integrated phytoplankton carbon biomass standing stock estimates using our PSD-based approach yield on average ~0.2–0.3 Gt of C, consistent with analogous estimates from two other ocean color algorithms, and several state-of-the-art Earth System models. However, the range of phytoplankton C biomass spatial variability globally is larger than estimated by any other models considered here, because the PSD-based algorithm is not a priori empirically constrained and introduces improvement over the assumptions of the other approaches. Satisfactory in situ closure observed between PSD and POC measurements lends support to the theoretical basis of the PSD-based algorithm. Uncertainty budget analyses indicate that absolute carbon concentration uncertainties are driven by the PSD parameter No which determines particle number concentration to first order, while uncertainties in PFTs' fractional contributions to total C biomass are mostly due to the allometric coefficients.

Carbon-based phytoplankton size classes retrieved via ocean color estimates of the particle size distribution

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