MEPS 305:79-100 (2005)  -  doi:10.3354/meps305079

UV transmission in Norwegian marine waters: controlling factors and possible effects on primary production and vertical distribution of phytoplankton

Svein Rune Erga1,*, Kjetil Aursland1, Øyvind Frette2, Børge Hamre2,Jon Kåre Lotsberg2, Jakob. J. Stamnes2, Jan Aure3, Francisco Rey3, Knut Stamnes4

1Department of Biology, University of Bergen, Jahnebakken 5, 5020 Bergen, Norway
2Department of Physics and Technology, University of Bergen, Allègt. 55, 5007 Bergen, Norway
3Institute of Marine Research, PO Box 1870 Nordnes, 5817 Bergen, Norway
4Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, USA

ABSTRACT: We investigated the ultraviolet radiation (UVR) transmission properties of Norwegian oceanic, coastal and fjord waters, and how they influence the primary production and vertical distribution of phytoplankton. Values of the 1% UVR attenuation depth and diffuse attenuation coefficients (Kd) in the Greenland and Norwegian Seas (GNS), in the coastal waters of south-western Norway (SWN) and in the Samnanger fjord (SAF) are presented. Maximum penetration of UVR in the GNS was confirmed by Kd(320) = 0.25 m–1, and mimimum penetration in the SAF, by Kd(320) = 9 m–1. In the GNS, Kd and chlorophyll a (chl a) were closely correlated, while coloured dissolved organic matter (CDOM) was the main contributor to ultraviolet (UV) attenuation in the SAF. Also, in SWN waters, CDOM was more important than chl a for UV attenuation, but less important than in SAF waters. In GNS and SAF waters the average vertical distribution of chl a had its maximum in the upper 10 and 7.5 m of the water column, respectively, while in SWN waters it had its maximum at 20 m. The depths with the highest photosynthetic rates per unit volume decreased successively from the oceanic waters of the GNS via the coastal waters of the SWN to the fjord waters of the SAF. Under similar PAR intensities, however, the water column photosynthetic efficiency (integrated carbon assimilation/chl a ratio) was highest in SWN waters. Maximum and mean percentage potential for inhibition of the estimated (from PAR and UV) primary production due to UVR at a depth of 5 m were 11 and 4.3% in the GNS, 3.2 and 0.9% in the SWN and 0.5 and 0.1% in the SAF. The UVR potential for inhibition was significant down to a depth of 10 m in the GNS, down to a depth of 5 m in the waters of the SWN, while it was seldom found deeper than 3 m in the SAF. These variations could be ascribed to differences in CDOM concentrations and mixed-layer depths. The optical properties of the investigated water masses were found to be highly influenced by the circulation patterns.

KEY WORDS: UV transmission · Norwegian waters · Phytoplankton · Primary production

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