Heterotrophic bacterioplankton in the Arabian Sea: Basinwide response to year-round high primary productivity

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Heterotrophic bacterial abundance and productivity were measured during five and four cruises, respectively, in the northwest Arabian Sea as part of the US JGOFS Process Study, which provided a new view of seasonal bacterial dynamics in that part of the basin influenced by monsoonal forcing. In this paper, surface layer data are used to address two questions concerning the influence of the monsoon cycle on bacterial dynamics: (1) Is there a bacterial bloom in the SW Monsoon? and (2) Is bacterial production low during the oligotrophic Spring Intermonsoon? An extensive comparison of epifluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry, unprecedented at this scale, detected essentially the same heterotrophic bacterial populations and distributions, with some between-cruise differences. Use of the two methods allowed us to extend our observations in space and time. Bacterial productivity, both in the surface layer and integrated over the euphotic zone, was elevated less than 2-fold during the Southwest Monsoon. Levels of bacterial abundance and production were low during the Northeast Monsoon, then increased in March during the Spring Intermonsoon. There was some stimulation of abundance or production inshore in response to coastal upwelling. In general, the basin was enriched in bacterial biomass > 5 × 108 cells 1-1 throughout the year, relative to other tropical regimes, presumably in response to overall high PP and DOC levels. Seasonally uniform DOC levels may be regulated in part by intense bacterial utilization rates, but also reflect seasonal consistency in PP. © 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd.

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Deep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography