Microzooplankton from oligotrophic waters off south west Western Australia: biomass, diversity and impact on phytoplankton

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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    Abstract

    [Truncated abstract] The role of marine microzooplankton in aquatic food webs has been studied in most regions of the world’s oceans, with the exception of the subtropical/temperate eastern Indian Ocean. This thesis addresses this gap in knowledge by investigating microzooplankton from five stations on a cross continental shelf transect and in two mesoscale features ∼300 km offshore of south west Western Australia. My primary focus was to measure and evaluate microzooplankton community change over space and time and their impact on phytoplankton on a cross shelf transect, sampling five stations from February 2002 December 2004 as part of a large multidisciplinary investigation into the pelagic ecosystem on the shelf (Chapter 2). This transect was named the Two Rocks transect. I also investigated an eddy pair (Chapter 5), which had originated from water in the vicinity of the Two Rocks transect, also undertaken as part of a larger study, investigating biophysical coupling within mesoscale eddies off south west Western Australia . . . The distribution of mixotrophic cells differed across the transect. Those mixotrophs that use photosynthesis as their primarily energy source exploited nutrient limited conditions inshore consuming particles, while mixotrophs that are primarily heterotrophic survived low prey conditions offshore by photosynthesizing. In the eddies, the grazing behaviour of microzooplankton was dependent on the specific phytoplankton assemblage in each eddy. The warm core eddy had a resident population of diatoms that were consumed by heterotrophic dinoflagellates present in high numbers. The cold core eddy had a warm cap which prevented upwelled water reaching the surface, resulting in stratification and a very active microbial food web, particularly in the surface
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2006

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