Planktonic size structure and the photon budget of the euphotic ocean
Susana Agustí

Plankton size spectra are recognised as powerful synthetic descriptors of planktonic communities because they provide a convenient interface between the description of the form and function of planktonic communities. Yet, organisms with differentiated functional roles (e.g. phototrophs and heterotrophs) often shown considerable size overlap. Hence there is a need to improve the descriptions offered by traditional size spectra. I suggest here that the integration of plankton size spectra and synthetic optical descriptions of planktonic communities would lead to improved descriptions of these communities and increase our power to predict their functional attributes. I support this suggestion by (1) showing that phototrophic and heterotrophic planktonic organisms have different spectral absorption signatures, (2) describing the allometric basis of plankton absorption properties, and (3) showing the link between plankton size and functional (phototrophs and heterotrophs) structure, and the photon budget of the euphotic ocean.

Keywords: Size plankton, optical, absorption, spectra, allometry, phototrophs, heterotrophs, photon, budget.
Contents of this volume Sci. Mar. 58(1-2) : 109-117 Back PDF
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