International Conference on Advances in Natural and Applied Sciences (ICANAS), Antalya, Turkey, 18 - 21 April 2017, vol.1833
Autotrophic pico-plankton form the smallest component of phytoplankton and refers to cells smaller than 2 mu M. It is phylogenetically diverse and have both prokaryotic and eukaryotic components. Prokaryotic pico-autotrophs are unicellular cyanobacteria, represented mainly by Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus genera. Pico-eukaryotes are more diverse and include members of Chlorophyta, Cryptophyta, Haptophyta and Heterokontophyta. Owing to their higher nutrient acquisition capacity, relative share of pico-plankton in autotrophic production and biomass can be significant and even dominant in oligotrophic regions such as in warm tropical waters. They also fare better than larger members of phytoplankton communities under light limitation and under increasing temperature. Recent work has shown that autotrophic pico-plankton can be a significant component of coastal phytoplankton. In view of the global warming related increase in the sea surface temperature and nutrient enrichment of coastal waters, it is necessary to understand variation in the relative share of different sized groups in phytoplankton communities of coastal ecosystems including pico-plankton biomass as it shows the potential for development of microbial food web. Here, an interpretation of temporal patterns detected in the biomass and the relative contribution of pico-sized (< 2 mu m) members of phytoplankton was made using data collected from two coastal sites over a year. The findings revealed the significant spatio-temporal variation in both actual pico-plankton biomass and its relative share in phytoplankton. The average biomass values of pico-plankton were 0.23 +/- 0.02 mu g chl a L-1 and 0.15 +/- 0.01 mu g chl a L-1 at nutrient-poor and nutrient-rich sites; respectively. The temporal pattern of change displayed by picoplankton biomass was not seasonal at nutrient rich site while at nutrient poor site it was seasonal with low values measured over winter suggesting it was the seasonal changes leading to the emergence of temporal pattern of change in picoplankton abundance observed at this site.