From 15-20 September, we had the chance to present our research at the 17th Conference of the International Nannoplankton Association (INA), hosted by Felipe Toledo and his team from the University of São Paulo (USP), at Santos, Brazil. As always happens every two years, the meeting gathered coccolithophore experts from all over the world working on a broad spectrum of topics, from coccolithophore biology and ecology, to biogeography, biogeochemistry and biostratigraphy.
Our talk was entitled “Transatlantic gradients in coccolithophore species fluxes: influence of the thermocline depth, Amazon water, and Saharan dust”, aimed at summarizing the main insights published in our two last papers (Guerreiro et al., 2017; 2019), to which we received very nice feedback from our cocco-expert colleagues.
DUSTCO members Catarina Guerreiro and Karl-Heinz Baumann were also invited to co-chair one of the sessions of the meeting, dealing with the “Ecology and Biology of living coccolithophores”. Within this session, Amos Winter (Indiana State University) highlighted the importance of coccolithophores in the ocean deep biomass in subtropical regions, the latter occupying 60% of the total ocean, hence, representing one of the largest biomes on our planet. This is well in line with our most recent findings published in Guerreiro et al. (2019) where we showed the occurrence of unexpectedly high coccolith export production by lower photic zone species Florisphaera profunda and Gladiolithus flabellatus in the region where the nutricline is deepest across the tropical North Atlantic.
In this study we hypothesize that these species might have a competitive ecological advantage in the face of increasing thermal stratification due to ongoing ocean warming. A process that could be compensated by dust fertilization if dust outbursts would become more intense and frequent in the future, leading to a relative increase of upper photic zone fast-blooming species. The balance between the two groups of species is strongly related to the depth of the nutricline in the ocean, with direct implications for the organic and inorganic carbon pumps (Guerreiro et al., in prep.)
Apart from all the enriching scientific discussions, it was also great to meet old friends and make new ones during the conference. Some of us have been meeting already since a long time ago, since INA was established back in 1977 to enhance communication between the widely scattered academic and industrial scientists working on calcareous nannofossils and living coccolithophores. Learn more about our nannoplankton community clicking here!