Image_1_Different Biochemical Compositions of Particulate Organic Matter Driven by Major Phytoplankton Communities in the Northwestern Ross Sea.JPEG (393.79 kB)
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posted on 21.01.2021, 04:27 by Naeun Jo, Hyoung Sul La, Jeong-Hoon Kim, Kwanwoo Kim, Bo Kyung Kim, Myung Joon Kim, Wuju Son, Sang Heon Lee

Marine particulate organic matter (POM) largely derived from phytoplankton is a primary food source for upper trophic consumers. Their biochemical compositions are important for heterotrophs. Especially, essential amino acids (EAAs) in phytoplankton are well known to have impacts on the survival and egg productions of herbivorous zooplankton. To estimate the nutritional quality of POM, the biochemical compositions [biomolecular and amino acid (AA) compositions] of POM were investigated in the northwestern Ross Sea during the late austral summer in 2018. Carbohydrates (CHO) accounted for the highest portion among different biomolecules [CHO, proteins (PRT), and lipids (LIP)] of POM. However, the higher contribution of PRT and lower contribution of CHO were observed in the southern section of our study area compared to those in the northern section. The spatial distribution of total hydrolyzable AAs in POM was considerably influenced by phytoplankton biomass, which indicates that the main source of particulate AA was generated by phytoplankton. Our results showed that the relative contribution of EAA to the total AAs was strongly associated with EAA index (EAAI) for determining protein quality. This result indicates that higher EAA contribution in POM suggests a better protein quality in consistency with high EAAI values. In this study, variations in the biochemical compositions in POM were principally determined by two different bloom-forming taxa (diatoms and Phaeocystis antarctica). The southern region dominated majorly by diatoms was positively correlated with PRT, EAA, and EAAI indicating a good protein quality, while P. antarctica-abundant northern region with higher CHO contribution was negatively correlated with good protein quality factors. Climate-driven environmental changes could alter not only the phytoplankton community but also the physiological conditions of phytoplankton. Our findings could provide a better understanding for future climate-induced changes in the biochemical compositions of phytoplankton and consequently their potential impacts on higher trophic levels.

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