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The nutrient characteristics of the Natal Bight, South Africa
Meyer, A.A.; Lutjeharms, J.R.E.; de Villiers, S. (2002). The nutrient characteristics of the Natal Bight, South Africa. J. Mar. Syst. 35(1-2): 11-37. dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0924-7963(02)00043-x
In: Journal of Marine Systems. Elsevier: Tokyo; Oxford; New York; Amsterdam. ISSN 0924-7963, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Continental shelves; Nutrients (mineral); PSW, South Africa, Natal [Marine Regions]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Meyer, A.A.
  • Lutjeharms, J.R.E., correspondent
  • de Villiers, S.

Abstract
    The Natal Bight is an unusually wide part of the continental shelf off southeastern Africa, bordered on its seaward side by the intense Agulhas Current. A description of the distribution of nutrients in the bight is given based on the first research cruise that has covered the whole region. It is shown that the main source of nutrients is the St. Lucia upwelling cell. From here, nutrient-rich water is carried southward over the northern part of the bight, particularly along the bottom. At the surface, this insertion of nutrients is accompanied by an increase in chlorophyll-a. Intermittent inflows of surface water from the Agulhas Current, particularly over the southern part of the bight, diminish the nutrient content of the waters there. A recurrent lee eddy off the southern termination of the Natal Bight upwells nutrients in its core. A simple model demonstrates that primary productivity may be sustained along the shelf edge by upwelling and that the southward flow of nutrients is affected by considerable mixing.

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