Author(s): Legendre L, Courties C, Troussellier M
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Abstract BACKGROUND: The present review is based on the identification of four major environmental crises that have been approached from a biological oceanographic viewpoint. These crises are the release of contaminants in near shore marine waters, the collapse of marine resources that were renewable until recently, the loss of biodiversity, and global climate change METHODS: The review examines the contribution of cytometry-based biological oceanography to the resolution of the four environmental crises. Using a database of 302 papers, flow cytometric (FCM) studies in biological oceanography over the 1989--1999 decade are examined. Future biological oceanographic applications of FCM are discussed. RESULTS: Most of the published FCM oceanographic studies focus on phytoplankton and bacterioplankton. Analysis of our 1989-1999 database shows the predominance of studies dedicated to phytoplankton (77\%), followed by heterotrophic bacteria (21\%). The latter progressively increased over the last decade, together with the improved understanding of the biogeochemical and trophic roles of marine bacteria. Most studies on these two microorganisms were conducted in vitro until 1996, after which the trend reversed in favor of in situ research. The most investigated areas were those with major international sampling efforts, related to the changing climate. Concerning environmental topics, 62\% of papers on phytoplankton and bacterioplankton focused on the structure of microbial communities and fluxes (e.g., production, grazing); this provides the basis for biological oceanographic studies on resources and climate change. CONCLUSIONS: Future progress in the biological oceanographic use of FCM will likely fall into two categories, i.e., applications where FCM will be combined with the development of other methods and those where FCM will be the main analytical tool. It is expected that FCM and other cytometric approaches will improve the ability of biological oceanography to address the major environmental challenges that are confronting human societies. Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
This article was published in Cytometry
and referenced in Journal of Earth Science & Climatic Change