Main Article Content
The distribution of the prokaryotic biomass (from both abundance and cell volume measurements) and microbial community respiration (by ETS activity) in the main water masses of the Southern Tyrrhenian Sea were studied. The data were collected from surface to the bottom depth (max 3600 m) in July and December 2005. Prokaryotic abundance and microbial respiration were higher in summer than late-autumn and decreased with depth in accordance with the water masses. The opposite was found for the prokaryotic cell volumes that increased with depth and were higher in December. The cell carbon content varied within the water masses and study periods (range 9–34 fg C cell−1) and overestimations and underestimations of biomass there would have been by using the routinely adopted conversion factor (20 fg C cell−1). The depth-integrated respiratory rates resulted comparable in the photic and aphotic layers. In July, 210 and 225 mg C m−2 day−1 in the euphotic and aphotic zones, respectively, were remineralized while in December, 112 and 134 mg C m−2 day−1, respectively, were. Speculations to quantify the carbon flow mediated by microbial community suggested the occurrence of different microbial behavior within the different water masses.
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