MEPS 378:55-69 (2009)  -  doi:10.3354/meps07847

Physical and biological controls on the maintenance and dissipation of a thin phytoplankton layer

O. M. Cheriton1,*, M. A. McManus2, M. T. Stacey3, J. V. Steinbuck4

1Long Marine Lab, University of California Santa Cruz, 100 Shaffer Road, Santa Cruz, California 95060, USA
2Department of Oceanography, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA
3Civil and Environment Engineering Department, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, California 94720, USA
4Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA

ABSTRACT: During an 8.5 h overnight study in Monterey Bay in 2005, continuous, high-resolution vertical profiles of a thin layer of phytoplankton as well as physical properties of the water were measured. The thin layer was populated by strong-swimming, vertically migrating dinoflagellates. This dataset provided a unique opportunity to apply an existing mathematical model that describes how competing convergence and divergence mechanisms contribute to the formation and structure of thin plankton layers. Compared to straining by shear, cell settling velocities, and plankton motility, vertical displacements caused by the passage of internal waves had the greatest influence on changes in layer thickness. Thus, for a model to accurately describe thin-layer dynamics in an environment with internal waves, the convergent and divergent effects of the vertical oscillations caused by internal waves must be considered.

KEY WORDS: Thin layer · Physical processes · Internal waves · Analytical framework · Monterey Bay

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Cite this article as: Cheriton OM, McManus MA, Stacey MT, Steinbuck JV (2009) Physical and biological controls on the maintenance and dissipation of a thin phytoplankton layer. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 378:55-69

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