Marine Biology

, Volume 51, Issue 1, pp 23–32 | Cite as

Continuous Plankton Records: Seasonal cycles of phytoplankton and copepods in the North Atlantic ocean and the North Sea

  • J. M. Colebrook


Data from the Continuous Plankton Recorder survey of the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea are used to study geographical variations in the amplitude, duration and timing of the seasonal cycles of total phytoplankton and total copepods. It is shown that the distribution of overwintering stocks influences the distributions throughout the year. There is a relationship between the timing of the spring increase of phytoplankton and the amplitude of the seasonal variation in sea surface temperature. In the open ocean, the timing of the spring increase of phytoplankton corresponds with the spring warming of the surface waters. In the North Sea the spring increase occurs earlier, associated, perhaps, with transient periods of vertical stability, resulting in a relatively slower rate of increase. It is suggested that in the open ocean the higher rate of increase is under-exploited by copepods due to low overwintering stocks and longer generation times. Exceptionally early spring increases of phytoplankton off the west coast of Greenland and over the Norwegian shelf are probably associated with permanent haloclines. A high and late autumn peak of phytoplankton off the coast of Portugal may be associated with coastal upwelling.


Phytoplankton Seasonal Cycle Open Ocean North Atlantic Ocean Vertical Stability 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. M. Colebrook
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Marine Environmental ResearchPlymouthEngland

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