COVID-19 lockdown moderately increased oligotrophy at a marine coastal site_1

Sala, M. M.; Peters, F.; Sebastián, M.; Cardelús, C.; Calvo, E.; Marrasé, C.; Massana, R.; Pelejero, C.; Sala-Colomina, J.; Vaqué, D.; Gasol, J. M.
Science of The Total Environment
COVID-19 has led to global population lockdowns that have had indirect effects on terrestrial and marine fauna, yet little is known on their effects on marine planktonic communities. We analysed the effect of the spring 2020 lockdown in a marine coastal area in Blanes Bay, NW Mediterranean. We compared a set of 23 oceanographic, microbial and biogeochemical variables sampled right after the strict lockdown in Spain, with data from the previous 15 years after correcting for long-termtrends. Our analysis shows a series of changes in the microbial communities which may have been induced by the combination of the decreased nitrogen atmospheric load, the lowerwastewater flux and the reduced fishing activity in the area,among other factors. In particular,we detected a slight decrease beyond the long-term trend in chlorophyll a, in the abundance of several microbial groups (phototrophic nanoflagellates and total prokaryotes) and in prokaryotic activity (heterotrophic prokaryotic production and β-glucosidase activity) which, as a whole, resulted in a moderate increase of oligotrophy in Blanes Bay after the lockdown.
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