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Scallop shells as geochemical archives of phytoplankton‐related ecological processes in a temperate coastal ecosystem

Abstract : Phytoplankton dynamics in coastal ecosystems is increasingly altered by land-based human activities. Yet, this global vision conceals major disparities, among sites and through time. As conventional monitoring time series are quite sparse and relatively short, biological records of environmental variability appear as relevant tools to gain insights into phytoplankton dynamics over larger temporal and spatial scales. Here, we present results of an interdisciplinary project dealing with chemical information archived in shells of Pecten maximus (Bivalvia; Pectinidae), known to form daily growth striae on its shell surface. Several individuals were collected in the Bay of Brest (France) in 2011 and 2012, and analyzed for the molybdenum and lithium concentrations in their soft tissues and the element-to-calcium ratios (Mo : Ca and Li : Ca) in their calcitic striae. All shells revealed high synchrony and reproducibility in their Mo : Ca and Li : Ca profiles, characterized with a major peak at the end of May and in mid-June 2011, respectively. Detailed analysis of physical, chemical, and biological variables measured in seawater during an extensive 9-month environmental survey enabled a meticulous description of phytoplankton dynamics in 2011 and its impact on shell geochemistry. Main findings strongly suggest that (1) the timing of Mo : Ca peaks reflects the occurrence of silicon limitation and diatom aggregation periods, (2) the height of these peaks relates to the amplitude of the first spring diatom bloom, and (3) Li : Ca serves as a proxy for the temporal dynamics of diatom biovolume and of biogenic silica recycling at the sediment-water interface.
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Submitted on : Thursday, January 6, 2022 - 10:00:40 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, January 15, 2022 - 3:47:25 AM

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Julien Thébault, Aurélie Jolivet, Matthieu Waeles, Hélène Tabouret, Sophie Sabarot, et al.. Scallop shells as geochemical archives of phytoplankton‐related ecological processes in a temperate coastal ecosystem. Limnology and Oceanography, Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, 2021, ⟨10.1002/lno.11985⟩. ⟨hal-03515790⟩

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