Flow cytometry analysis
It appears as though there is an interesting trend in my data. Using a flow cytometry analysis software called Cytowin, samples that contain a Prochlorococcus population seem to be distributed within a consistent region of each profile.
Of the Prochlorococcus species, there are distinct ecotypes that have adapted to different light levels and corresponding depths in the ocean. A unique collection of light harvesting machinery and pigments in their physiological makeup allow for this adaptation. In my particular samples, it appears as though the organisms in this region of the Southern Atlantic Ocean are exhibiting early characteristics of a high-light adapted population. That is to also say, the Prochlorococcus (if present) has been consistently found in the surface or higher light sample depths of our station profiles. This is already an interesting observation in and of itself, because it might suggest a few other things.
Although I am not familiar with the organisms that make up the community of protistan grazers that Prochlorococcus may be in competition with, one thing is completely certain about the changing water and light scattering properties of this region and particular cruise… they were most likely altered by other organisms such as the coccolithophorids. I will be on the lookout for shifts in community composition after I reach station 18 where the bloom first occurred.