The impact of saharan dust on bacterioplankton in marine surface water
Borchardt, Trace David
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Within the last 30 years, dust deposition has been identified as a key contributor of nutrients to the open ocean. While most research in this field has been conducted using mesocosms with artificial additions, we have collected a 21-day in situ time series of the microbial structure and chemical concentration changes during elevated atmospheric dust levels. An increase in microbial abundance and diversity, and shifts in dominant taxa like Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus occurred after dust entered our study site. Along with biological changes, delayed increases in chemical parameters like iron and phosphorus were observed. Using experimental incubations we confirmed many changes that happened in situ also occurred after incubation, indicating the changes seen were not due to disparate bodies of water, supporting previously published work using mesocosm experiments. As research continues, more in situ events should be investigated to more fully understand the effect dust deposition has on marine environments.