Modelling the Effects of Eddy-Induced Nutrient Pulses on Primary Production and Algal Taxonomic Composition
Ship-based observations of Loop Current frontal eddies and rings showed that their interaction with the eastern and western Gulf of Mexico margins leads to shoaling of nitrate isopleths of ca. 150 m or more. This engenders elevated levels of primary production and chlorophyll biomass. It also should alter algal taxonomic composition, favoring larger-celled diatoms, with increases in the vertical flux of organic matter on a time scale of several days. CZCS images show tongues of elevated pigment biomass around the periphery of the Loop Current and its separated anticyclonic rings when these features abut the margins. This may reflect offshore advection of continental shelf waters as well as local elevated production.