About this Research Topic
Coastal marine ecosystems are some of the most studied regions of the global ocean as they are highly productive areas in terms of primary and secondary production, which can be classified as highly productive or class I (>300 gC m-2 yr-1), moderately productive or class II (150-300 gC m-2 yr-1), to low productive or class III (≺150 gC m-2 yr-1). The complex interactions of the marine food web and environmental biotic and abiotic processes in these regions are highly susceptible to impacts from human activities (nutrient inputs, deoxygenation). Thus, researchers have used time series studies, in situ measurements and experimental approaches with natural communities to improve models and predict future climate scenarios.
Studying these regions presents a challenge since many physical, chemical and biological processes interact in concert at different scales of variability. Surface nutrient enrichment is derived from multiple origins; large rivers/estuaries and the ocean interior through upwelling or vertical mixing of nutrient-rich sub-surface waters to the surface, which shape the structure of biological communities. In these areas biological communities thrive, transforming these zones of the ocean into hot-spots of planktonic diversity, including microbial communities influencing biogeochemical cycling, and larger organisms interacting with higher levels of trophic food webs supporting much of the ocean's fishing resources. Moreover, these nutrients, or particles, including planktonic components, can be transported (or even sequestered) by physical processes from the coastal ocean off-shore having a larger spatial impact associated with features such as filaments and mesoscale eddies in addition to ocean currents. Poorly understood feedback in these regions between nutrient cycling, productivity and oxygen content ultimately influence the oceans capacity to sequester carbon dioxide and the emissions of climate relevant greenhouse gases. An array of culture-independent methods and the increasing use of next-generation sequencing approaches have allowed us to elucidate the microbial diversity, genetic potential, expression profile and potential role of microbes in the biogeochemical cycles of elusive plankton components that do not have representatives in culture. The complex network of interactions between plankton and its connection with nekton still represents a major gap in our knowledge that needs to be tackled.
This Research Topic is devoted to gather research from different disciplines tackling the complexity of marine productive areas and aims to untangle the interactions between planktonic communities. The above does not exclude the submission of traditional-approached research, that can give new insights into coastal marine environments.
Keywords: Coastal ecosystems, Upwelling, Planktonic diversity, Marine food web, High nutrients
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