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EARTH SCIENCE | BIOSPHERE | ECOLOGICAL DYNAMICS | ECOSYSTEM FUNCTIONS | PHOTOSYNTHESIS

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    These data are from a piggy back voyage to IN2018_V05, October-November 2018. The Chief Scientists were Helen Phillips and Nathan Bindoff. Nic Pittman and Clara Vives collected biogeochemical data on the voyage, and Xiang Yang used these data in his Hons thesis 2020-2021. The purpose of the study was to investigate biogeochemical variability in the region of the Polar Front meander south of Tasmania. Data include CTD nutrients, chlorophyll and oxygen as well as underway phytoplankton physiology and pCO2. Some data are duplicated but not in exactly the same format on the CSIRO Data Trawler.

  • Data collected from Southern Ocean phytoplankton laboratory culture experiments to examine the effect of iron limitation on the Chlorophyll fluorescence (F) to chlorophyll (Chl) ratio. Irradiance levels at which cultures were grown are indicated by the photon flux density (PFD). Growth rates of Fe limited cultures (-Fe) relative to Fe replete cultures (+Fe) are referred to as μ / μmax (unitless).

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    These data are from a voyage (IN2019_V01) on RV Investigator with the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD), that took place during January-March 2019. The Chief Scientist was Mike Double from the AAD. Clara R. Vives collected biogeochemical data on the voyage, and performed a series of incubation experiments for her PhD. The purpose of the study was to investigate the effects of iron and light on phytoplankton growth off East Antarcitca. Data include CTD nutrients, chlorophyll and oxygen as well as underway phytoplankton physiology (measured as the photochemical efficiency) and pCO2. Some data are duplicated but not in exactly the same format on the CSIRO Data Trawler.

  • Phytoplankton productivity in the polar Southern Ocean (SO) plays an important role in the transfer of carbon from the atmosphere to the ocean’s interior, a process called the biological carbon pump, which helps regulate global climate. SO productivity in turn is limited by low iron, light, and temperature, which restrict the ef- ficiency of the carbon pump. Iron and light can colimit productivity due to the high iron content of the photosynthetic photosystems and the need for increased photosystems for low-light acclimation in many phytoplankton. Here we show that SO phytoplankton have evolved critical adaptations to enhance photosynthetic rates under the joint constraints of low iron, light, and temperature. Under growth-limiting iron and light levels, three SO species had up to sixfold higher photosynthetic rates per photosystem II and similar or higher rates per mol of photosynthetic iron than tem- perate species, despite their lower growth temperature (3 vs. 18 °C) and light intensity (30 vs. 40 μmol quanta·m2·s−1), which should have decreased photosynthetic rates. These unexpectedly high rates in the SO species are partly explained by their unusually large photosynthetic antennae, which are among the largest ever recorded in marine phytoplankton. Large antennae are disadvan- tageous at low light intensities because they increase excitation energy loss as heat, but this loss may be mitigated by the low SO temperatures. Such adaptations point to higher SO production rates than environmental conditions should otherwise permit, with implications for regional ecology and biogeochemistry.

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    Antarctic krill is a key component of Southern Ocean ecosystems and there is significant interest in identifying regions acting as sources for the krill population. We develop a mechanistic model combining thermal and food requirements for krill egg production, with predation pressure post-spawning, to predict regions that could support high larval production (spawning habitat). We optimise our model on regional data using a maximum likelihood approach and then generate circumpolar predictions of spawning habitat quality. The uploaded datasets represent model predictions of seasonal circumpolar spawning habitat quality of Antarctic krill as well as composite data of the circumpolar mean annual number of weeks in which modelled spawning habitat quality is higher than the summer 80th percentile.

  • -- Layton et al. Chemical microenvironments within macroalgal assemblages: implications for the inhibition of kelp recruitment by turf algae. Limnology & Oceanography. DOI:10.1002/lno.11138 -- Kelp forests around the world are under increasing pressure from anthropogenic stressors. A widespread consequence is that in many places, complex and highly productive kelp habitats have been replaced by structurally simple and less productive turf algae habitats. Turf algae habitats resist re-establishment of kelp via recruitment inhibition; however little is known about the specific mechanisms involved. One potential factor is the chemical environment within the turf algae and into which kelp propagules settle and develop. Using laboratory trials, we illustrate that the chemical microenvironment (O2 concentration and pH) 0.0–50 mm above the benthos within four multispecies macroalgal assemblages (including a turf-sediment assemblage and an Ecklonia radiata kelp-dominated assemblage) are characterised by elevated O2 and pH relative to the surrounding seawater. Notably however, O2 and pH were significantly higher within turf-sediment assemblages than in kelp-dominated assemblages, and at levels that have previously been demonstrated to impair the photosynthetic or physiological capacity of kelp propagules. Field observations of the experimental assemblages confirmed that recruitment of kelp was significantly lower into treatments with dense turf algae than in the kelp-dominated assemblages. We demonstrate differences between the chemical microenvironments of kelp and turf algae assemblages that correlate with differences in kelp recruitment, highlighting how degradation of kelp habitats might result in the persistence of turf algae habitats and the localised absence of kelp.

  • The phenotypic plasticity of habitat-forming seaweeds was investigated with a transplant experiment in which juvenile Ecklonia radiata and Phyllospora comosa were transplanted from NSW (warm conditions) to Tasmania (cool conditions) and monitored for four months. We used multiple performance indicators (growth, photosynthetic characteristics, pigment content, chemical composition, stable isotopes, nucleic acids) to assess the ecophysiology of seaweeds before and following transplantation between February 2012 and June 2012.

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    Seasonal patterns in the in situ ecophysiology of the common habitat-forming seaweeds Ecklonia radiata, Phyllospora comosa, and Macrocystis pyrifera were investigated at different latitudes and depths in southeastern Australia. We used multiple performance indicators (photosynthetic characteristics, pigment content, chemical composition, stable isotopes, nucleic acids) to assess the ecophysiology of seaweeds near the northern and southern margins of their range, along a depth gradient (E. radiata only), over a two year period (September 2010 – August 2012).