INSTITUTO TECNOLOGICO DE CHASCOMUS
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
Recurrent pattern of picophytoplankton dynamics in estuaries around the world: The case of Río de la Plata
SATHICQ, MARÍA BELÉN; UNREIN, FERNANDO; GÓMEZ, NORA
MARINE ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH
ELSEVIER SCI LTD
Año: 2020 vol. 161
The picoplankton is an important component of aquatic food webs and plays a significant biogeochemical and ecological role in the environment. Little is known about this fraction of the plankton in temperate estuaries and especially in South America. In this article, we study the absolute and relative importance of the picoplankton along an annual cycle, and their relationship with physical and chemical variables in the Río de la Plata estuary. We also review the existing research in estuaries around the world concerning this community and present our results in a global context. The seasonal variation in the abundance of the different groups analyzed was very noticeable. Phycocyanin-rich picocyanobacteria (Pcy) were the main component (in abundance and in biovolume) of the picophytoplankton (PPP) almost during the whole year, with a maximum abundance of 7.3 × 105 cell mL−1 in summer, three orders of magnitude higher compared to autumn-winter. Picoeukaryotes, larger phytoplankton and heterotrophic bacteria showed the same seasonal trend, although with a lower range of variation than that of the Pcy. Considering all the phototrophic planktonic fractions, in terms of biomass, the PPP reached a maximum of 43% of the total biomass in spring. The dynamics of PPP found in this area are consistent with the observed in other temperate estuaries, where temperature is the main variable that influences its development, and with a high seasonal variation. Additionally, the absolute and relative importance of Pcy showed a consistently increasing trend towards lower latitude estuaries. The review also showed us that there is scarce information related to the picoplankton fraction in the Southern Hemisphere, its sanitary implications due to their potential of toxicity or their ecological role in coastal zones. The results presented here show the importance of this fraction, not only in Río de la Plata, but in many estuaries of the world, with a clear increase of relative abundance as we approach the equator.