Synoptic relationships between surface Chlorophyll-<i>a</i> and diagnostic pigments specific to phytoplankton functional types

Error-quantified, synoptic-scale relationships between chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) and phytoplankton pigment groups at the sea surface are presented. A total of ten pigment groups were considered to represent three Phytoplankton Size Classes (PSCs, micro-, nano- and picoplankton) and seven Phytoplankton Functional Types (PFTs, i.e. diatoms, dinoflagellates, green algae, prymnesiophytes (haptophytes), pico-eukaryotes, prokaryotes and Prochlorococcus sp.). The observed relationships between Chl-a and PSCs/PFTs were well-defined at the global scale to show that a community shift of phytoplankton at the basin and global scales is reflected by a change in Chl-a of the total community. Thus, Chl-a of the total community can be used as an index of not only phytoplankton biomass but also of their community structure. Within these relationships, we also found non-monotonic variations with Chl-a for certain pico-sized phytoplankton (pico-eukaryotes, Prokaryotes and Prochlorococcus sp.) and nano-sized phytoplankton (Green algae, prymnesiophytes). The relationships were quantified with a least-square fitting approach in order to enable an estimation of the PFTs from Chl-a where PFTs are expressed as a percentage of the total Chl-a. The estimated uncertainty of the relationships depends on both PFT and Chl-a concentration. Maximum uncertainty of 31.8% was found for diatoms at Chl-a = 0.49 mg m 3. However, the mean uncertainty of the relationships over all PFTs was 5.9% over the entire Chl-a range observed in situ (0.02