Spatial variations of size-fractionated chlorophyll, cyanobacteria and heterotrophic bacteria in the Central and Western Pacific
Geographic and vertical variations of size-fractionated (0.2-1 mu m, 1-10 mu m, and >10 mu m) Chlorophyll a (Chl.a) concentration, cyanobacteria abundance and heterotrophic bacteria abundance were investigated at 13 stations from 4 degrees S, 160 degrees W to 30 degrees N, 140 degrees E in November 1993. The results indicated a geographic distribution pattern of these parameters with instances of high values occurring in the equatorial region and offshore areas, and with instance of low values occurring in the oligotrophic regions where nutrients were almost undetectable. Cyanobacteria showed the highest geographic variation (ranging from 27x10(3) to 16,582x10(3) cell l(-1)), followed by Chl.a (ranging from 0.048 to 0.178 mu g l(-1)), and heterotrophic bacteria (ranging from 2.84x10(3) to 6.50 x 10(5) cell l(-1)). Positive correlations were observed between nutrients and Chl.a abundance. Correspondences of cyanobacteria and heterotrophic bacteria abundances to nutrients were less significant than that of Chl.a. The total Chl.a was accounted for 1.0-30.9%, 35.9-53.7%, and 28.1-57.3% by the >10 mu m, 1-10 mu m and 0.2-1 mu m fractions respectively. Correlation between size-fractionated Chl.a and nutrients suggest that the larger the cell size, the more nutrient-dependent growth and production of the organism. The ratio of pheophytin to chlorophyll implys that more than half of the > 10 mu m and about one third of the 1-10 mu m pigment-containing particles in the oligotrophic region were non-living fragments, while most of the 1-10 mu m fraction was living cells. In the depth profiles, cyanobacteria were distributed mainly in the surface layer, whereas heterotrophic bacteria were abundant from surface to below the euphotic zone. Chl.a peaked at the surface layer (0-20 m) in the equatorial area and at the nitracline (75-100 m) in the oligotrophic regions. Cyanobacteria were not the principle component of the picoplankton. The carbon biomass ratio of heterotroph to phytoplankton was greater than 1 in the eutrophic area and lower than 1 in oligotrophic waters.