Articles | Volume 5, issue 2
Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 5, 227–239, 2013

Special issue: MAREDAT – Towards a world atlas of marine plankton functional...

Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 5, 227–239, 2013

  12 Jul 2013

12 Jul 2013

MAREDAT: towards a world atlas of MARine Ecosystem DATa

E. T. Buitenhuis1, M. Vogt2, R. Moriarty3, N. Bednaršek4, S. C. Doney5, K. Leblanc6, C. Le Quéré1, Y.-W. Luo5, C. O'Brien2, T. O'Brien7, J. Peloquin2, R. Schiebel8, and C. Swan2 E. T. Buitenhuis et al.
  • 1Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK
  • 2Environmental Physics, Institute for Biogeochemistry and Pollutant Dynamics, ETH Zürich, Universitätsstrasse 16, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland
  • 3School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester, Williamson Building, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
  • 4NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115, USA
  • 5Department of Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543, USA
  • 6Aix-Marseille Université, Université du Sud Toulon-Var, CNRS/INSU, IRD, MIO, UM110, 13288 Marseille, Cedex 09, France
  • 7National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East–West Highway, Silver Spring, Maryland, USA
  • 8LUNAM University, Angers University, UMR CNRS 6112 LPGN-BIAF, Laboratoire des Bio-Indicateurs Actuels et Fossiles, 2 Boulevard Lavoisier, 49045 Angers CEDEX 01, France

Abstract. We present a summary of biomass data for 11 plankton functional types (PFTs) plus phytoplankton pigment data, compiled as part of the MARine Ecosystem biomass DATa (MAREDAT) initiative. The goal of the MAREDAT initiative is to provide, in due course, global gridded data products with coverage of all planktic components of the global ocean ecosystem. This special issue is the first step towards achieving this. The PFTs presented here include picophytoplankton, diazotrophs, coccolithophores, Phaeocystis, diatoms, picoheterotrophs, microzooplankton, foraminifers, mesozooplankton, pteropods and macrozooplankton. All variables have been gridded onto a World Ocean Atlas (WOA) grid (1° × 1° × 33 vertical levels × monthly climatologies). The results show that abundance is much better constrained than their carbon content/elemental composition, and coastal seas and other high productivity regions have much better coverage than the much larger volumes where biomass is relatively low. The data show that (1) the global total heterotrophic biomass (2.0–4.6 Pg C) is at least as high as the total autotrophic biomass (0.5–2.4 Pg C excluding nanophytoplankton and autotrophic dinoflagellates); (2) the biomass of zooplankton calcifiers (0.03–0.67 Pg C) is substantially higher than that of coccolithophores (0.001–0.03 Pg C); (3) patchiness of biomass distribution increases with organism size; and (4) although zooplankton biomass measurements below 200 m are rare, the limited measurements available suggest that Bacteria and Archaea are not the only important heterotrophs in the deep sea. More data will be needed to characterise ocean ecosystem functioning and associated biogeochemistry in the Southern Hemisphere and below 200 m. Future efforts to understand marine ecosystem composition and functioning will be helped both by further archiving of historical data and future sampling at new locations.

Microzooplankton database: doi:10.1594/PANGAEA.779970

All MAREDAT databases: