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Intrusions of eastern North Atlantic central waters and phytoplankton in the north and northwestern Iberian shelf during spring
Bode, A.; Varela, M.; Casas, B.; González, N. (2002). Intrusions of eastern North Atlantic central waters and phytoplankton in the north and northwestern Iberian shelf during spring. J. Mar. Syst. 36(3-4): 197-218. dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0924-7963(02)00187-2
In: Journal of Marine Systems. Elsevier: Tokyo; Oxford; New York; Amsterdam. ISSN 0924-7963, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Abundance; Community composition; Nutrients (mineral); Ocean circulation; Phytoplankton; Saline intrusion; Salinity effects; Seston; Temperature effects; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Bode, A.
  • Varela, M.
  • Casas, B.
  • González, N.

Abstract
    The influence of intrusions of eastern North Atlantic central water (ENACW) in the north and northwestern Iberian shelf on phytoplankton composition and abundance and on particle-size distributions of seston was analyzed using data collected on three extensive cruises during spring 1991 and 1992. Water with temperature and salinity values between 12.20 and 13.86 °C and between 35.66 and 35.98 psu, respectively, characteristics of the subtropical type of ENACW (ENACWt), was detected in the upper 100 m of the water-column in all cruises, but particularly in the western coast in 1992. The highest salinity values of this water were found near the surface (0-100-m depth) and in early spring 1992, while minimum salinity values, and also minimum geographical extension, were found in late spring in both years. Phytoplankton blooms concentrated in frontal areas between different water types, with maximum intensity and extension in early spring. Using temperature and salinity characteristics, samples were classified in four groups corresponding to the major water types found in the region: Bay of Biscay central water (BBCW), two segments of ENACW of different salinity and surface water influenced by continental runoff. This classification was significantly confirmed by three independent discriminant analyses using hydrographic and chemical (dissolved nutrients and chlorophyll) variables, phytoplankton species abundance variables and particle-size concentration of seston variables. Phytoplankton blooms related to the presence of saline waters were characterized by the dominance of either chain-forming diatoms or a mixture of diatoms and phytoflagellates and high concentrations of seston. The diatom species dominating in saline waters were typical of upwelling-induced blooms occurring generally during summer. Blooms occurring in waters influenced by runoff also contained diatoms but in lower numbers than those of saline waters. Nutrients were not exhausted in the region, suggesting that phytoplankton populations were still in active growth. These results are interpreted taking into account the known variability in water-mass formation and in the poleward current driving ENACWt along the shelf, and indicate that saline intrusions are a major feature affecting the distribution and composition of plankton in the spring in the southern Bay of Biscay, thus enlarging to a wider spatial scale their reported influence on the pelagic ecosystem.

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