Effect of seafloor depth on phytoplankton blooms in high-nitrate, low-chlorophyll (HNLC) regions


Tyrrell, T., Merico, A., Waniek, J.J., Wong, C.S., Metzl, N. and Whitney, F. (2005) Effect of seafloor depth on phytoplankton blooms in high-nitrate, low-chlorophyll (HNLC) regions. Journal of Geophysical Research, 110, (G2), G02007-[12pp]. (doi:10.1029/2005JG000041).

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Original Publication URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2005JG000041

Description/Abstract

We calculated correlations between seafloor depth and phytoplankton blooms in all three main high-nitrate, low-chlorophyll (HNLC) regions, but with a particular focus on the subarctic North Pacific area. It has long been known that the central parts of the east and west subarctic North Pacific are HNLC regions. The deep western basin of the Bering Sea is also HNLC, whereas the wide continental shelf of the eastern Bering Sea is not. We carried out a statistical comparison of spatial maps of (1) seafloor depth and (2) chlorophyll a concentration from satellite data. This comparison reveals that shallow waters have, on average, higher peak chlorophyll a concentrations (more intense phytoplankton blooms) than deep waters (p 0.01). Possible artifacts of the satellite data are considered but it is concluded that the signal is genuine, in part because the same patterns are found in in situ data. There are several possible explanations for the observed correlation; the most probable, we suggest, is that iron diffusing out of the seafloor causes alleviation of iron limitation in shallow waters.

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 0148-0227 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: phytoplankton, ocean color, bathymetry, HNLC, North Pacific, iron
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GC Oceanography
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Ocean & Earth Science (SOC/SOES)
ePrint ID: 23974
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2006
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 18:13
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/23974

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