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Editorial: Zooplankton and Nekton: Gatekeepers of the Biological Pump

Abstract : Editorial on the Research Topic Zooplankton and Nekton: Gatekeepers of the Biological Pump Zooplankton and nekton organisms create and destroy particles in manifold ways. They feed on the diverse components of the plankton community and on detrital matter. They disaggregate these components, but also repackage them into fecal pellets. Zooplankton and nekton thereby contributes to the attenuation, but also to the export of vertically settling particles. Many zooplankton and nekton organisms also ascend to the surface layer of the ocean at dusk to feed during the dark hours, and return to midwater at the break of dawn. This diurnal vertical migration (DVM) shuttles organic matter from the surface ocean to deeper layers, where it is metabolized and excreted. This active flux (as opposed to the passive flux of sinking particles) can contribute substantially to the biological pump, the downward export of carbon and nutrients into the oceans interior. Due to their multiple roles in oceanic particle dynamics, zooplankton and nekton organisms can actually be considered the gatekeepers of the biological pump. Several articles in this Research Topic deal with the contribution of zooplankton and nekton-mediated active flux to the total export of organic matter. Using biomass and enzyme transport system (ETS) assessments of respiratory flux for both mesozooplankton and micronekton communities, Hernández-León et al. estimated the total active transport of carbon (respiration, excretion, mortality, and egestion) along a transect in the Atlantic from the Canary Islands to Brazil. They found that active flux by these communities ranged from 25 to 80% of the total particulate organic carbon export at 150 m depth and that the importance of active flux increased with increasing surface productivity. Kwong et al. compared biomass, diel vertical migration, and active flux of mesozooplankton and micronekton across a range of mesoscale eddy structures along the east-coast of Australia during winter and spring. They found that although all eddy regimes had similar integrated biomass of mesozooplakton and micronekton, the organisms in the individual eddies had different migratory behavior, which resulted in contrasting importance of active flux. Kiko et al. assessed the impact of mesozooplankton DVM on elemental cycling at three stations in the Eastern Tropical North Atlantic. They found that approximately 31 to 41% of the total nitrogen loss from the upper 200 m of the water column was attributable to DVM mediated fluxes. They also suggest that gut flux-the flux created by migrators when they evacuate their gut at DVM-depth-and migrator mortality at DVM-depth contribute to an Intermediate Particle Maximum. In their study conducted in the Peruvian upwelling system (which features a severe midwater oxygen minimum zone), Kiko and Hauss concluded that the metabolic suppression
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Rainer Kiko, Daniele Bianchi, Christian Grenz, Helena Hauss, Morten Iversen, et al.. Editorial: Zooplankton and Nekton: Gatekeepers of the Biological Pump. Frontiers in Marine Science, Frontiers Media, 2020, 7, ⟨10.3389/fmars.2020.00545⟩. ⟨hal-02900036⟩

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