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  1. Abstract

    The ecological and oceanographic processes that drive the response of pelagic ocean microbiomes to environmental changes remain poorly understood, particularly in coastal upwelling ecosystems. Here we show that seasonal and interannual variability in coastal upwelling predicts pelagic ocean microbiome diversity and community structure in the Southern California Current region. Ribosomal RNA gene sequencing, targeting prokaryotic and eukaryotic microbes, from samples collected seasonally during 2014-2020 indicate that nitracline depth is the most robust predictor of spatial microbial community structure and biodiversity in this region. Striking ecological changes occurred due to the transition from a warm anomaly during 2014-2016, characterized by intense stratification, to cooler conditions in 2017-2018, representative of more typical upwelling conditions, with photosynthetic eukaryotes, especially diatoms, changing most strongly. The regional slope of nitracline depth exerts strong control on the relative proportion of highly diverse offshore communities and low biodiversity, but highly productive nearshore communities.

  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  3. Abstract In the global ocean, more than 380 species are known to ingest microplastics (plastic particles less than 5 mm in size), including mid-trophic forage fishes central to pelagic food webs. Trophic pathways that bioaccumulate microplastics in marine food webs remain unclear. We assess the potential for the trophic transfer of microplastics through forage fishes, which are prey for diverse predators including commercial and protected species. Here, we quantify Northern Anchovy ( Engraulis mordax ) exposure to microplastics relative to their natural zooplankton prey, across their vertical habitat. Microplastic and zooplankton samples were collected from the California Current Ecosystem in 2006 and 2007. We estimated the abundance of microplastics beyond the sampled size range but within anchovy feeding size ranges using global microplastic size distributions. Depth-integrated microplastics (0–30 m depth) were estimated using a depth decay model, accounting for the effects of wind-driven vertical mixing on buoyant microplastics. In this coastal upwelling biome, the median relative exposure for an anchovy that consumed prey 0.287–5 mm in size was 1 microplastic particle for every 3399 zooplankton individuals. Microplastic exposure varied, peaking within offshore habitats, during the winter, and during the day. Maximum exposure to microplastic particles relative to zooplankton prey wasmore »higher for juvenile (1:23) than adult (1:33) anchovy due to growth-associated differences in anchovy feeding. Overall, microplastic particles constituted fewer than 5% of prey-sized items available to anchovy. Microplastic exposure is likely to increase for forage fishes in the global ocean alongside declines in primary productivity, and with increased water column stratification and microplastic pollution.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 16, 2023
  5. Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 16, 2023
  6. Particulate inorganic carbon (PIC) plays a major role in the ocean carbon cycle impacting pH, dissolved inorganic carbon, and alkalinity, as well as particulate organic carbon (POC) export and transfer efficiency to the deep sea. Remote sensing retrievals of PIC in surface waters span two decades, yet knowledge of PIC concentration variability in the water column is temporally and spatially limited due to a reliance on ship sampling. To overcome the space–time gap in observations, we have developed optical sensors for PIC concentration and flux that exploit the high mineral birefringence of CaCO 3 minerals, and thus enable real-time data when deployed operationally from ship CTDs and ARGO-style Carbon Flux Explorer floats. For PIC concentrations, we describe a fast (10 Hz) digital low-power (∼0.5 W) sensor that utilizes cross-polarized transmitted light to detect the photon yield from suspended birefringent particles in the water column. This sensor has been CTD-deployed to depths as great as 6,000 m and cross-calibrated against particulates sampled by large volume in situ filtration and CTD/rosettes. We report data from the September–November 2018 GEOTRACES GP15 meridional transect from the Aleutian Islands to Tahiti along 152°W where we validated two prototype sensors deployed on separate CTD systems surface to bottom atmore »39 stations, many of which were taken in nearly particle-free waters. We compare sensor results with major particle phase composition (particularly PIC and particulate aluminum) from simultaneously collected size-fractionated particulate samples collected by large volume in situ filtration. We also report results from the June 2017 California Current Ecosystem-Long Term Ecological Research (CCE-LTER) process study in California coastal waters where high PIC levels were found. We demonstrate that the PIC concentration sensor can detect PIC concentration variability from 0.01 to >1 μM in the water column (except in nepheloid layers) and outline engineering needs and progress on its integration with the Carbon Flux Explorer, an autonomous float.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 8, 2023
  7. null (Ed.)