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Frontiers in Marine Science

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Prochlorococcus, Phytoplankton, Synechococcus


The fluorescence and scattering properties of Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus at Station ALOHA as measured by flow cytometry (termed the FCM phenotype) vary with depth and over a variety of time scales. The variation in FCM phenotypes may reflect population selection or physiological acclimation to local conditions. Observations before, during, and after a storm with deep water mixing show a short-term homogenization of the FCM phenotypes with depth, followed by a return to the stable pattern over the time span of a few days. These dynamics indicate that, within the upper mixed-layer, the FCM phenotype distribution represents acclimation to ambient light. The populations in the pycnocline (around 100 m and below), remain stable and are invariant with light conditions. In samples where both cyanobacteria coexist, fluorescence properties of Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus are tightly correlated providing further evidence that FCM phenotype variability is caused by a common environmental factor or factors. Measurements of the dynamics of FCM phenotypes provide insights into phytoplankton physiology and adaptation. Alternatively, FCM phenotype census of a water mass may provide information about its origin and illumination history.


Copyright © 2017 van den Engh, Doggett, Thompson, Doblin, Gimpel and Karl. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.



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