Microbial Community Dynamics, Community Respiration, and Net Community Production in Monterey Bay, a Nearshore Upwelling Kelp Forest Environment

Jesse Wilson1, Steven Yitzchak Litvin2 and Michael Beman1, (1)University of California, Merced, Environmental Systems, Merced, CA, United States, (2)Hopkins Marine Station - Stanford University, Pacific Grove, CA, United States
Upwelling ecosystems, and the extensive kelp forests that can be found in such environments, are extremely productive, supporting extensive food webs and active biogeochemical cycling. However, variation in microbial community dynamics and metabolism—typically a key component of oceanic biogeochemical cycles—are poorly understood within and outside kelp forests. We examined variation in microbial community diversity and composition, planktonic community respiration (CR), net community production (NCP), and gross primary production (GPP) as a function of proximity to kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) and other variables (i.e. depth, temperature, time, size fractionation) through lab-based and in situ bottle incubations in Monterey Bay, CA. Microbial alpha diversity tended to be higher at shallower depths and inside the kelp forest than outside it, while non-dimensional scaling revealed that variations in beta diversity were driven primarily by date and depth. CR and NCP varied with depth, date, and with proximity to kelp. CR was lower within the kelp forest than outside it, but kelp forest samples exhibited less variation. Inside the kelp forest, a relatively constant rate of CR led to variations in NCP driven by variable GPP, while CR alone appeared to control NCP outside the kelp forest across multiple depths. Taken together, these results speak to the variable nature of the nearshore environment in both space and time, and demonstrate how kelp forests may influence microbial communities and moderate changes in biogeochemical cycling over time.