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Conceptual models for the biogeochemical role of the photic zone microbial food web, with particular reference to the Mediterranean Sea

Authors
Journal
Progress In Oceanography
0079-6611
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
44
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/s0079-6611(99)00029-4

Abstract

Abstract Observations are reviewed which indicate that not only phytoplankton, but also heterotrophic bacteria are P-limited during those seasons when there is stratification in the Mediterranean. It is discussed how these observations fit into a general concept of a size-structured food chain where the structure is a result of combined top-down control from size-selective predators and size-dependent competition for phosphate. It is argued that, conceptually, labile DOC and silicate have symmetrical roles in potentially controlling the flux of P through the ‘microbial’ and ‘classical’ sides, respectively, of this food web. The resulting concept provides a model linking C, P, and Si fluxes to the size spectrum of biogenic particles in the photic zone.

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