Assessing the Temporal Variability and Drivers of Transparent Exopolymer Particle Concentrations and Production Rates in a Subtropical Estuary

Academic Article

Abstract

  • Abstract Transparent exopolymer particles (TEP) are the central mechanism by which carbon is shuttled from the surface to the deep ocean. Despite the importance of these particles, the magnitude and drivers of temporal variability in the concentration and production rate of TEP in the ocean are not well resolved, especially in highly dynamic and productive regions like estuaries. Here, TEP dynamics were evaluated across weekly, tidal, and diel time scales within the Skidaway River Estuary (GA, USA) and adjacent coastal waters in the South Atlantic Bight. No significant trends in TEP concentration or production rates were observed over weekly time scales, though over tidal cycles, TEP concentration varied between tide stage and TEP:chlorophyll ratios were always lower at low relative to high tides. Over sequential diel cycles, TEP concentrations were two times higher at night relative to midday. Different biological and environmental variables were correlated with TEP dynamics (Spearman ρ) depending on the time scale considered, reinforcing the importance of time-specific drivers of TEP. These results emphasize the importance in considering the temporal variability of field-based TEP measurements, with implications for accurate assessments of carbon cycling in coastal ecosystems and the incorporation of TEP into carbon export models.
  • Authors

  • Harvey, Elizabeth
  • Anderson, Sean R
  • Diou-Cass, Quintin
  • Duffy, Patrick I
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • October 13, 2020
  • Keywords

  • Diel
  • TEP
  • Temporal variability
  • Transparent exopolymer particle
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)