CASE ITN > Dissemination > Publications and communications > Publication and Conference

Publication and Communication

The coccolithophores Emiliania huxleyi and Coccolithus pelagicus: extant populations from the Norwegian-Iceland Sea and Fram Strait


C.V. Dylmer, J. Giraudeau, V. Hanquiez, and K. Husum

First Authors affiliation



Deep Sea Research I

98, 1-9.


The distributions of the coccolithophore species Emiliania huxleyi and Coccolithus pelagicus (heterococcolith-bearing phase) in the northern North Atlantic were investigated along two zonal transects crossing Fram Strait and the Norwegian–Iceland Sea, respectively, each conducted during both July 2011 and September–October 2007. Remote-sensing images as well as CTD and ARGO profiles were used to constrain the physico-chemical state of the surface water and surface mixed layer at the time of sampling. Strong seasonal differences in bulk coccolithophore standing stocks characterized the northern and southern transects, where the maximum values of 53×103 cells/l (fall) and 70×103 cells/l (summer), respectively, were essentially explained by E. huxleyi. This pattern confirms previous findings of a summer to fall northwestward shift in peak coccolithophore cell densities within the Nordic Seas. While depicting an overall zonal shift in high cell densities between the summer (Norwegian Sea) and fall (northern Iceland Sea) conditions, the southern transects were additionally characterized by local peak coccolithophore concentrations associated with a geographically and temporally restricted convective process (Lofoten Gyre, summer), as well as an island mass effect (in the vicinity of Jan Mayen Island, fall).

Maximum coccolithophore abundances within Fram Strait were found during both seasons close to the western frontal zone (Polar and Arctic Fronts) an area of strong density gradients where physical and chemical properties of the surface mixed layer are prone to enhance phytoplankton biomass and productivity. Here, changes in species dominance from E. huxleyi in summer, to C. pelagicus in fall, were related to the strengthened influence during summer, of surface AW, as well as to high July solar irradiance, within an area usually characterized by C. pelagicus-dominated low density populations.



Go back