Journal of Oceanography

, Volume 73, Issue 1, pp 1–9 | Cite as

Seasonal dynamics of the phytoplankton community in Sendai Bay, northern Japan

  • Yukiko Taniuchi
  • Tsuyoshi Watanabe
  • Shigeho Kakehi
  • Tomoko Sakami
  • Akira Kuwata
Special Section: Original Article Oceanographic observations after the 2011 earthquake off the Pacific coast of Tohoku


Sendai Bay is located on the Pacific coast of northern Japan and suffered serious damage following the 2011 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. To assess the impact on the marine ecosystem, information was needed on the phytoplankton communities and their seasonal variation. However, such information was limited. Therefore, an intensive monitoring of the phytoplankton was carried out from March 2012 to April 2014. Seasonal variation of the phytoplankton community was similar at coastal and offshore stations. Total phytoplankton biomass, based on Chl a concentration, peaked in spring and then decreased to a minimum in summer, before gradually increasing during early winter and peaking again in the following spring. This seasonal pattern was consistent with previous studies conducted before the earthquake and tsunami. Also, size structure of the phytoplankton community and its four main groups was estimated from the size-fractioned samples of Chl a. Our results also showed that the spring bloom consisted of large diatoms, with their growth ceasing due to nitrogen depletion. The bloom was followed by a summer period where cyanobacteria and picoeukaryote became dominant, with high cell densities in spite of low nutrient concentrations. In addition, sporadic environmental changes, such as those following typhoons, were observed. These resulted in large increases/decreases in individual phytoplankton groups.


Sendai Bay Diatom Dinoflagellate Picoeukaryote Cyanobacteria 



We particularly wish to thank Y. Sasaki and Dr. H. Saito for nutrient analyses and the captain and crews of Wakataka-maru and Dai5Taikai-maru for their cooperation. We also thank Dr. D. Jewson for his critical reading of the manuscript. This work was supported by CREST (JST).


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Copyright information

© The Oceanographic Society of Japan and Springer Japan 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yukiko Taniuchi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tsuyoshi Watanabe
    • 1
  • Shigeho Kakehi
    • 1
  • Tomoko Sakami
    • 1
  • Akira Kuwata
    • 1
  1. 1.Tohoku National Fisheries Research InstituteShiogamaJapan
  2. 2.Hokkaido National Fisheries Research InstituteKushiroJapan

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