Iriarte, Arantza and Purdie, Duncan A.
Factors controlling the timing of major spring bloom events
in an UK south coast estuary
Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 61, (4), . (doi:10.1016/j.ecss.2004.08.002).
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Factors controlling the timing of major (>10 mg chlorophyll a m?3) spring bloom events in the estuarine waters of the Solent, on the south coast of the UK, have been investigated. Winter to summer variations in chlorophyll a concentration together with relevant meteorological and hydrographical data have been analysed for 5 years (1988, 1992, 2001, 2002 and 2003). Mean water column irradiance is demonstrated to be the main factor controlling the timing of the first major spring bloom event, usually dominated by large chain-forming diatoms. When chlorophyll a concentration first exceeds 10 mg m?3 in spring (usually in May) the mean water column photosynthetic active radiation (PAR) averaged for one week prior to the sampling date was always >380 W h m?2 d?1. Prior to the main spring bloom event surface incident radiation and water turbidity combine to limit chlorophyll a concentration to levels <10 mg m?3. Chlorophyll a concentrations >10 mg m?3 do not occur in the Solent until almost the entire 10 m water column is within the euphotic zone (i.e. above 1% light level) and light extinction coefficient (k) is ca. ?0.5 m?1. Statistically, river flow explains the largest percentage of the variations in k and the delayed bloom in June 2002 is due to increased cloud cover and high levels of rainfall in May, which caused a reduction in surface incident irradiance and increased turbidity. Chlorophyll a peaks during these major bloom events generally occur on spring tides when increased mixing rates favour net growth of diatoms.
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