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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 734:1-21 (2024)  -  DOI:

Changing phytoplankton phenology in the marginal ice zone west of the Antarctic Peninsula

Jessica S. Turner1,*, Heidi Dierssen1, Oscar Schofield2, Heather H. Kim3, Sharon Stammerjohn4, David R. Munro4,5, Maria Kavanaugh6

1Department of Marine Sciences, University of Connecticut, Groton, CT 06340, USA
2Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA
3Department of Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA 02453, USA
4Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
5National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Global Monitoring Laboratory, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
6College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Climate change is altering global ocean phenology, the timing of annually occurring biological events. We examined the changing phenology of the phytoplankton accumulation season west of the Antarctic Peninsula to show that blooms are shifting later in the season over time in ice-associated waters. The timing of the start date and peak date of the phytoplankton accumulation season occurred later over time from 1997 to 2022 in the marginal ice zone and over the continental shelf. A divergence was seen between offshore waters and ice-associated waters, with offshore bloom timing becoming earlier, yet marginal ice zone and continental shelf bloom timing shifting later. Higher chlorophyll a (chl a) concentration in the fall season was seen in recent years, especially over the northern continental shelf. Minimal long-term trends in annual chl a occurred, likely due to the combination of later start dates in spring and higher chl a in fall. Increasing spring wind speed is the most likely mechanism for later spring start dates, leading to deeper wind mixing in a region experiencing sea ice loss. Later phytoplankton bloom timing over the marginal ice zone and continental shelf will have consequences for surface ocean carbon uptake, food web dynamics, and trophic cascades.

KEY WORDS: Phenology · Antarctic ecology · Remote sensing · Marginal ice zone · Chlorophyll a · Polar regions · Phytoplankton blooms · Satellite data

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Cite this article as: Turner JS, Dierssen H, Schofield O, Kim HH, Stammerjohn S, Munro DR, Kavanaugh M (2024) Changing phytoplankton phenology in the marginal ice zone west of the Antarctic Peninsula. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 734:1-21.

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