Katy Donoso, Francois Carlotti, Marc Pagano, Brian P V Hunt, Ruben Escribano, Léo Berline
Journal of Geophysical Research : Oceans
The Gulf of Lion is an important area of deep convection, where intense winter vertical mixing brings nutrients up from deeper layers, promoting the largest bloom in the Mediterranean at the end of winter/early spring. In DEWEX program conducted cruises in February and April 2013 to investigate the ecosystem level impacts of deep water convection. Zooplankton data were collected through net sampling and imaging with an Underwater Vision Profiler. In winter, low zooplankton abundance and biomass were observed in the Deep Convection Zone (DCZ) and higher values on its periphery. In spring, this pattern reversed with high biomass in the DCZ and lower values on the periphery. On average for the whole area, the potential grazing impact was estimated to increase by one order of magnitude from winter to spring. In April, all areas except the DCZ incurred top-down control by zooplankton on the phytoplankton stock. In the DCZ, the chlorophyll-a values remained high despite the high zooplankton biomass and carbon demand, indicating a sustained bottom-up control. The zooplankton community composition was comparable for both periods, typified by high copepod dominance, but with some differences between the DCZ and peripheral regions. In spring the DCZ was characterized by a strong increase in herbivorous species such as Centropages typicus and Calanus helgolandicus, and an increase in the number of large zooplankton individuals. Our study indicates that the DCZ is likely an area of both enhanced energy transfer to higher trophic levels and organic matter export in the North Western Mediterranean Sea. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.