Phytoplankton pigments and functional types in the Atlantic Ocean: A decadal assessment, 1995-2005

Jim Aiken*, Yaswant Pradhan, Ray Barlow, Sam Lavender, Alex J. Poulton, Patrick M. Holligan, Nick Hardman-Mountford

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

143 Citations (Scopus)


The phytoplankton pigment composition (chlorophylls and carotenoids) from 17 Atlantic Meridional Transect (AMT) cruises over the period 1995-2005 was analysed to determine the distributions of pigments and plankton in the Atlantic Ocean between 50°N and 50°S. Data were quality assured by statistical methods, including regression of total chlorophyll a (TChla) versus accessory pigments (AP) and comparison of the AMT-TChla with contemporary SeaWiFS-TChla (cruises AMT-05 to -17). Comparisons of province-mean TChla (±SD) for in situ and satellite data showed good agreement for each cruise. 'Taxa-specific' pigments were used to define phytoplankton functional types (PFTs) for each of the biogeochemical provinces along the AMT. Pigment ratios (e.g. TChla/AP) were analysed for each cruise and for each province as indices (characteristic properties) of particular PFTs. Mostly robust positive correlations were observed between TChla and pigment ratios for different PFTs, for some provinces and most cruises. These were consistent with previous observations. Generally there were no significant trends of mean TChla or pigment ratios within provinces over the period 1995-2005, although the previously reported perturbation due to the 1997-1998 ENSO was evident.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)899-917
Number of pages19
JournalDeep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2009


  • Biogeochemical provinces
  • Decadal data
  • Functional types
  • Phytoplankton pigments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography


Dive into the research topics of 'Phytoplankton pigments and functional types in the Atlantic Ocean: A decadal assessment, 1995-2005'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this