Six moorings were deployed at different locations in the deep submarine canyons along the south-west margin of Crete, providing a total of eight sediment-trap time series from June 2005 to May 2006. Within this dataset, we analyzed the record from intact coccospheres, which represent the signal of export production from the coccolithophore community. The most abundant species at all stations during the whole investigated period were E. huxleyi and A. robusta, followed by S. pulchra HET, G. flabellatus, H. carteri, F. profunda, S. pulchra HOL oblonga, while the rest of the species represented ≤ 1% of the assemblage. Overall the assemblage composition was comparable at all stations, with slight variations mostly related to the different preservation of coccosphere integrity at the different collection depths. The consistent pattern of seasonal variation in species distribution and total coccolithophore export allowed us to define the occurrence of three main periods: a) March to June, with high overall coccosphere flux (up to 4.3 × 105-3.4 × 106 coccospheres m- 2 day- 1), increased abundance of E. huxleyi and subordinate H. carteri s.s., Umbilicosphaera spp. and S. pulchra; b) June to November, with high but gradually decreasing total coccosphere flux (up to 7 × 105-1.4 × 106 coccospheres m- 2 day- 1) and high relative abundance of the deep photic zone species A. robusta, F. profunda, G. flabellatus as well as S. pulchra and Coronosphaera spp., R. clavigera, U. tenuis, D. tubifera and holococcolithophores; c) November to February, with low overall export fluxes (3.5-9 × 104 coccospheres m- 2 day- 1) and high relative abundance of A. robusta, S. pulchra and Syracosphaera spp. These three periods correspond to the seasonal changes in sea surface temperature, surface mixed layer depth and rainfall and are associated with varying total surface primary production, as detected through remote sensing in the surface waters. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
- South-western Cretan margin