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CR 48:293-305 (2011)  -  DOI:

Decadal variability in chlorophyll and primary ­production off NW Spain

Antonio Bode1,*, Ricardo Anadón2, Xosé Anxelu G. Morán3, Enrique Nogueira3, Eva Teira4, Manuel Varela1

1Centro Oceanográfico de A Coruña, Instituto Español de Oceanografía, Apdo. 130, 15080 A Coruña, Spain
2Depto. Biología de Organismos y Sistemas, Universidad de Oviedo, Campus del Cristo, 33071 Oviedo, Spain
3Centro Oceanográfico de Gijón, Instituto Español de Oceanografía, Avda. Príncipe de Asturias 70b, 33212 Gijón/Xixón, Spain
4Depto. de Ecoloxía e Bioloxía Animal, Universidade de Vigo, Campus Lagoas-Marcosende, 36210 Vigo, Spain

ABSTRACT: Long-term variability of phytoplankton biomass (chlorophyll a) and primary production (carbon fixation) in relation to changes in climatic and oceanographic factors was analysed for oceanic and shelf waters of the north and northwest Iberian Peninsula. Changes related to stratification in the water column and upwelling intensity were specifically addressed. The time series include measurements of primary production and biomass over 19 yr. Seasonally, the main mode of temporal variability of the series is the occurrence of phytoplankton blooms during the winter-spring and summer-autumn transition periods. On the northwestern coast (Galicia), the blooms are more frequent and attain higher biomass and production values than on the northern coast (Mar Cantábrico) due to the longer duration and higher intensity of upwelling in the former region. Even for the longest series there is no significant long-term trend in biomass, but primary production increased in Galicia and decreased in the Mar Cantábrico at nearly equivalent rates when considering monthly series. The lagged relationships between external factors and phytoplankton biomass and production suggest non-linear interactions between phytoplankton and climate. Neither the increase in surface stratification nor the decrease in upwelling intensity has negatively affected primary production in this region following consistent and systematic patterns. Changes in the amount and proportions of nutrients during winter water-mass formation, and an increased use of nutrients remineralised in situ, are proposed as the main causes of decadal variability in primary production in this region.

KEY WORDS: Primary production · Upwelling · Climate change · Nutrients · Remineralisation · NE Atlantic

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Cite this article as: Bode A, Anadón R, Morán XAG, Nogueira E, Teira E, Varela M (2011) Decadal variability in chlorophyll and primary ­production off NW Spain. Clim Res 48:293-305.

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