NANO Alumnus Yosra Khammeri and co-authors published the following article in the Continental Shelf Research

Atmospheric bulk deposition of dissolved nitrogen, phosphorus and silicate in the Gulf of Gabès (South Ionian Basin); implications for marine heterotrophic prokaryotes and ultraphytoplankton

Khammeri et al. (2018) Continental Shelf Research, Vol 159, pp. 1-11, DOI 10.1016/j.csr.2018.03.003


Monthly variability of atmospheric deposition of dissolved nitrogen, phosphorus and silicate was assessed during the year period from June 2014 to May 2015 in the Gulf of Gabès, situated near the most active source of dust. Nutrient concentrations, ultraphytoplankton <10 µm and heterotrophic prokaryotes abundances were simultaneously investigated in the surface coastal water near the sampling site. Results showed that most of the bulk nutrient deposition (more than 66%) occurred during wet season, from October to February, characterized by air masses originating from the Tunisian desert. Dissolved Inorganic Nitrogen (DIN) deposition was very low, whereas Dissolved Inorganic Phosphorus (DIP) bulk deposition was within the range of that observed in the Eastern Mediterranean. High organic nitrogen (30.47%) and phosphorus (83,5%) content contributed to the bulk nitrogen and phosphorus deposition respectively. Months marked by high deposition were accompanied by an increase of carbon biomass from picophytoplankton, Synecococcus and heterotrophic prokaryotes while nanophytoplankton biomass decreased from 62.38% to 43.39% towards the wet season. During the wet season, heterotrophic prokaryotes become the first contributors to the carbon biomass in the surface water. This suggests a possible contribution of bacteria to the organic nutrient pool driven by atmospheric deposition or/and a reinforcement of the heterotrophic character of the system due to the organic content mineralization processes.


  • Nutrients
  • Deposition
  • Saharan dust
  • Heterotrophic prokaryotes
  • Ultraphytoplankton
  • Gulf of Gabès

Link for the publication here

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