Saharan dust inputs and high UVR levels jointly alter the metabolic balance of marine oligotrophic ecosystems
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AuthorCabrerizo, Marco J.; Medina Sánchez, Juan Manuel; González-Olalla, Juan Manuel; Villar Argáiz, Manuel; Carrillo Lechuga, Presentación
Nature Publishing Group
BiomaEarthUltraviolet radiation (UVR)Atmospheric dustMarine oligotrophic ecosystemsMediterranean SeaMarine PlanktonClimatic changesAtmospheric carbon dioxide
Cabrerizo, M.J.; et al. Saharan dust inputs and high UVR levels jointly alter the metabolic balance of marine oligotrophic ecosystems. Scientific Report, 6: 35892 (2016). [http://hdl.handle.net/10481/43875]
SponsorshipThis work was funded by the Ministerio Español de Ciencia e Innovación (CGL2011–23681 and CGL2015-67682-R), and Campus de Excelencia Internacional del Mar (CeiMar). M.J.C. and J.M.G.-O. were supported by the Spanish Government Fellowship “Formación de Profesorado Universitario” (FPU12/01243 and FPU14/00977, respectively).
The metabolic balance of the most extensive bioma on the Earth is a controversial topic of the global-change research. High ultraviolet radiation (UVR) levels by the shoaling of upper mixed layers and increasing atmospheric dust deposition from arid regions may unpredictably alter the metabolic state of marine oligotrophic ecosystems. We performed an observational study across the south-western (SW) Mediterranean Sea to assess the planktonic metabolic balance and a microcosm experiment in two contrasting areas, heterotrophic nearshore and autotrophic open sea, to test whether a combined UVR × dust impact could alter their metabolic balance at mid-term scales. We show that the metabolic state of oligotrophic areas geographically varies and that the joint impact of UVR and dust inputs prompted a strong change towards autotrophic metabolism. We propose that this metabolic response could be accentuated with the global change as remote-sensing evidence shows increasing intensities, frequencies and number of dust events together with variations in the surface UVR fluxes on SW Mediterranean Sea. Overall, these findings suggest that the enhancement of the net carbon budget under a combined UVR and dust inputs impact could contribute to boost the biological pump, reinforcing the role of the oligotrophic marine ecosystems as CO2 sinks.