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Joon Hai LIM, Choon Weng LEE, Chui Wei BONG. Investigating factors driving phytoplankton growth and grazing loss rates in waters around Peninsular Malaysia[J]. Journal of Oceanology and Limnology, 2021, 39(1): 148-159

Investigating factors driving phytoplankton growth and grazing loss rates in waters around Peninsular Malaysia

Joon Hai LIM1,2,3, Choon Weng LEE1,2, Chui Wei BONG1,2
1 Laboratory of Microbial Ecology, Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur 50603, Malaysia;
2 Institute of Ocean and Earth Sciences, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur 50603, Malaysia;
3 Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur 50603, Malaysia
In tropical waters where temperatures are relatively stable, we investigated whether the relationship between phytoplankton growth and grazing loss rate across different habitats around Peninsular Malaysia can be attributed to its eutrophication states. We measured phytoplankton growth (μ) and grazing loss (g) rates in waters off Bachok Marine Research Station (BMRS), located northeast of Peninsular Malaysia. Chlorophyll-a (chl-a) concentration ranged from 2.90 to 15.78 μg/Land was dominated by nanoand micro-phytoplankton (>2 μm in size). Using the Landry and Hassett dilution method, μ at BMRS ranged from 1.02 to 1.58/d whereas g varied from 0.07 to 0.88/d. Grazing accounted for 35% of the primary production at BMRS. A systematic review of available data in waters around Peninsular Malaysia, revealed how μ fluctuated over a wide range (0.01-1.80/d) and correlated with chl a distribution (R2=0.181, P<0.001). However, the relationship was only significant at <9 μg/L chl a for mesotrophic waters and <16 μg/L chl a for eutrophic waters. In contrast, g ranged from 0.00 to 1.01/d, and correlated with μ at all locations. The g/μ slope ranged from 19% to 84%, and was generally similar for waters around Peninsular Malaysia. However, all the g/μ slopes had a positive y-intercept except for BMRS, and this seemed to suggest the availability of alternative prey supporting grazing at the other stations.
Key words:    phytoplankton growth|grazing loss|grazing pressure|Bachok Marine Research Station (BMRS)   
Received: 2019-09-24   Revised: 2019-12-17
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