Estuaries and Coasts

, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 232–245 | Cite as

Primary production in Long Island sound

  • Nicole L. Goebel
  • James N. Kremer
  • Christopher A. Edwards


Daily and annual integrated rates of primary productivity and community respiration were calculated using physiological parameters measured in oxygen-based photosynthesis-irradiance (P-I) incubations at 8 stations throughout central and western Long Island Sound (cwLIS) during the summer and autumn of 2002 and 2003 and the late spring of 2003. Each calculation takes into account actual variations in incident irradiance over the day and underwater irradiance and standing stock with depth. Annual peak rates, ±95% confidence interval of propagated uncertainty in each measurement, of gross primary production (GPP, 1,730±610 mmol O2 m−2 d−1), community respiration (Rc, 1,660±270 mmol O2 m−2 d−1), and net community production (NCP, 1,160±1,100 mmol O2 m−2 d−1) occurred during summer at the western end of the Sound. Lowest rates of GPP (4±11 mmol O2 m−2 d−1), Rc (−50±300 mmol O2 m−2 d−1), and NCP (−1,250±270 mmol O2 m−2 d−1) occurred during late autumn-early winter at the outer sampled stations. These large ranges in rates of GPP, Rc, and NCP throughout the photic zone of cwLIS are attributed to seasonal and spatial variability. Algal respiration (Ra) was estimated to consume an average of 5% to 52% of GPP, using a literature-based ratio of Ra:Rc. From this range, we established that the estimated Ra accounts for approximately half of GPP, and was used to estimate daily net primary production (NPP), which ranged from 2 to 870 mmol O2 m−2 d−1 throughout cwLIS during the study. Annual NPP averaged 40±8 mol O2 m−2 yr−1 for all sampled stations, which more than doubled along the main axis of the Sound, from 32±14 mol O2 m−2 yr−1 at an eastern station to 82±25 mol O2 m−2 yr−1 at the western-most station. These spatial gradients in productivity parallel nitrogen loads along the main axis of the Sound. Daily integrals of productivity were used to test and formulate a simple, robust biomass-light model for the prediction of phytoplankton production in Long Island Sound, and the slope of the relationship was consistent with reports for other systems.


Phytoplankton Gross Primary Production Phytoplankton Production Marine Ecology Progress Series Photic Zone 
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Copyright information

© Estuarine Research Federation 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicole L. Goebel
    • 1
  • James N. Kremer
    • 1
  • Christopher A. Edwards
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Marine SciencesUniversity of Connecticut at Avery PointConnecticutGroton
  2. 2.Ocean Sciences DepartmentUniversity of CaliforniaCaliforniaSanta Cruz

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