Satellite-Measured Phytoplankton and Environmental Factors in North Patagonian Gulfs

  • Gabriela N. WilliamsEmail author
  • Miriam E. Solís
  • José L. Esteves


An extensive series of high-resolution satellite images from the Sea-Viewing Wide Field-of-View Sensor (SeaWiFS, 2000–2006) was used in the characterization of the phytoplankton biomass seasonal cycle of the north Patagonian gulfs (NPG). The NPG system is formed by the San Matías, San José, and Nuevo gulfs (between 40°47′and 43°00′S and 63°00′ and 65°1.2′W) and is an area of ecological importance and of great significance for marine conservation in the Patagonian Argentinean Shelf. The spatio temporal variability of phytoplankton biomass in each of these environments was characterized by chlorophyll a data from satellite images (Chla-sat). The observed seasonal variability was explained by factors influencing the growth of phytoplankton: photosynthetically available radiation (PAR from the SeaWiFS sensor) and sea surface temperature (SST from the Advanced Very High-Resolution Radiometer, AVHRR). In situ temperature, nutrient, and chlorophyll a concentration data from oceanographic cruises carried out in Nuevo (four cruises: 1982–1983), San José (four cruises: 1984–1985), and San Matías (four cruises: 1986–1994) gulfs were also used to explain the observed patterns. Cycles of phytoplankton and SST over the NPG are typical of temperate waters. However, Chla-sat cycles were different among gulfs. At the same time, Chla-sat cycles over the gulfs were different from that over the adjacent middle continental shelf. SMG was characterized by a bimodal cycle, although in winter mean values were higher than the mean concentration for the whole area. SJG was characterized by a unimodal cycle with relatively high values of chlorophyll a concentration in spring-summer. NG showed a bimodal cycle with maximum values in autumn and spring and minimum values in winter and summer. Particularities of each gulf are discussed in relation to the seasonal hydrographic characteristics of the water column (temperature and nutrients) and in the context of the Patagonian shelf ecosystem.


Chlorophyll a Nutrients Remote sensing Vertical profiles North Patagonian gulfs 



We dedicate this chapter to Dr. Domingo Antonio Gagliardini who was a pioneer in the field of marine remote sensing in Argentina. The authors thank the Comisión Nacional de Actividades Espaciales (CONAE, Argentina) for the provided images and the Ocean Biology Processing Group (Code 614.2) at the GSFC, Greenbelt, MD20 771, for the distribution of the ocean color data. We also thank M. Sapoznik, N. Pérez de la Torre, and M.R. Marin for their assistance in processing the satellite images and N. Glembocki for language improvement. An anonymous reviewer helped to improve the manuscript. The work was supported by funding from the Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET, Argentina) and the Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica (ANPCyT, Argentina) through projects PICT 2003 N° 15221, 2006 N° 1575, 2006 N° 649, and 2013 N°0687.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gabriela N. Williams
    • 1
    Email author
  • Miriam E. Solís
    • 1
  • José L. Esteves
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratorio de Oceanografía Química y Contaminación de Aguas (LOQyCA)Centro para el Estudio de Sistemas Marinos (CESIMAR), Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET)Puerto MadrynArgentina

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