MEPS 302:93-101 (2005)  -  doi:10.3354/meps302093

Hydrodynamic and tidal controls of small-scale phytoplankton patchiness

Laurent Seuront1,2,*

1Ecosystem Complexity Research Group, Station Marine de Wimereux, CNRS UMR 8013 ELICO, Université des Sciences et Technologies de Lille, 28 avenue Foch, 62930 Wimereux, France
2School of Biological Sciences, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia, Australia

ABSTRACT: A continuous time series of high-resolution in vivo fluorescence measurements in coastal waters of the eastern English Channel over 4 tidal cycles investigated the potential influence of different turbulence intensities and advective tidal processes on small-scale phytoplankton patchiness. Although small-scale phytoplankton patchiness decreased with increasing turbulence intensity, phytoplankton distributions were never fully homogenised, and were more patchy during ebb than flood tides at turbulence intensities ranging from 10–7 to 10–4 m2 s–3. A combination of biologically and physically driven patchiness is suggested to be the cause of the observed patterns.


KEY WORDS: Turbulence · Tide · Phytoplankton · Patchiness · Sampling · Phaeocystis globosa


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