Year-to-Year Fluctuation of the Spring Phytoplankton Bloom in South San Francisco Bay: An Example of Ecological Variability at the Land-Sea Interface

  • James E. Cloern
  • Alan D. Jassby


Estuaries are transitional ecosystems at the interface of the terrestrial and marine realms. Their unique physiographic position gives rise to large spatial variability, and to dynamic temporal variability resulting, in part, from a variety of forces and fluxes at the oceanic and terrestrial boundaries. River flow, in particular, is an important mechanism for delivering watershed-derived materials such as fresh water, sediments, and nutrients; each of these quantities in turn directly influences the physical structure and biological communities of estuaries. With this setting in mind, we consider here the general proposition that estuarine variability at the yearly time scale can be caused by annual fluctuations in river flow. We use a “long-term” (15-year) time series of phytoplankton biomass variability in South San Francisco Bay (SSFB), a lagoon-type estuary in which phytoplankton primary production is the largest source of organic carbon (Jassby et al. 1993).


River Flow Phytoplankton Biomass Spring Bloom Marine Ecology Progress Series Phytoplankton Dynamic 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • James E. Cloern
  • Alan D. Jassby

There are no affiliations available

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