Stelmakh L.V., Gorbunova T.I.

Emiliania huxleyi blooms in the Black Sea: influence of abiotic and biotic factors

Abstract The studies were conducted in the Black Sea in deep and shallow water areas in October 2010 and May 2013. The main abiotic and biotic factors, which control spring and autumn coccolithophorid Emiliania huxleyi blooms, were identified. During late May this phenomenon was observed under optimal light and temperature conditions, and also optimal ratio between mineral forms of nitrogen and phosphorus (N/P) in the water. Biotic variables (the net growth rate of phytoplankton and relative dinoflagellates share in its total biomass) determined the uneven distribution of E. huxleyi within a bloom. In October, water temperature was almost 4ºС lower compared to that in May, and solar radiation intensity decreased approximately by 2–3 times. However, as a result of seasonal adaptation to light and temperature, E. huxleyi abundance reached blooming level. In that period, the variability of N/P ratio in the water and the relative share of diatoms in total biomass of phytoplankton played a major role in the uneven distribution of this coccolithophorid within the studied area. In the areas with low water salinity, a bloom was not developing. Within the main part of the studied water area, the major source of nitrogen was ammonium, which was favourable for the growth of E. huxleyi and dinoflagellates, but limited the growth of diatoms.


Keywords Black Sea, Emiliania huxleyi bloom, microzooplankton grazing, nutrients, phytoplankton growth rate

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