This paper provides the first diagnosis of the impact of mussel farming on the primary production (PP) and the metabolic balance in a coastal upwelling region (Ría de Vigo). Measurements of size-fractionated PP and microbial plankton metabolism were performed outside (reference station; ReS) and inside the farming area (raft station; RaS). At ReS, integrated PP was higher during upwelling (1.05 ± 0.45 g C m−2 d−1) with microphytoplankton dominating carbon fixation (74 ± 14%). The significance of nanophytoplankton and picophytoplankton increased during winter linked to lower PP (0.24 ± 0.03 g C m−2 d−1). Water column at ReS was always autotrophic with net community production (NCP) ranging from 186 ± 67 mmol O2 m−2 d−1 during upwelling to 43 ± 22 mmol O2 m−2 d−1 in winter. At RaS, there was a decrease in PP attributable not only to mussel consumption but also to the lower irradiance under mussel rafts. Concomitant decrease in NCP was also observed (by 56%), yet remained autotrophic, supporting the view that under current conditions food does not limit mussel growth in the Ría, thus securing the carrying capacity of the system in terms of production.
Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science – Elsevier
Published: May 1, 2018
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