Molecular approach to determine contributions of the protist community to particle flux

Jessica Amacher, Susanne Neuer, Ian Anderson, Ramon Massana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The importance of key taxonomic groups of eukaryotic phytoplankton as contributors to downward particle flux was evaluated near the European time-series station (ESTOC) in the eastern subtropical North Atlantic in March 2005. For the first time, molecular (cloning and sequencing) techniques were used to compare plankton communities from various depths in the euphotic zone with clone libraries from surface-tethered particle traps. Analyses of 18S rDNA clone libraries revealed compositional differences between the phytoplankton assemblages in the photic zone and those retrieved from shallow particle traps below, suggesting that not all phytoplankton contribute equally to particle flux. Contrary to expectations, our study also showed that it is not diatoms, despite their high abundance in the water column, but rather small phytoplankton taxa that dominated sequences recovered from trap material. We provide here first observational evidence that large taxa with mineral tests may not necessarily contribute more to export production than do smaller taxa even if the former are abundant in the water column.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2206-2215
Number of pages10
JournalDeep-Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2009


  • 18S rDNA
  • Carbon flux
  • Clone libraries
  • Particle traps
  • Protists

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Molecular approach to determine contributions of the protist community to particle flux'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this