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Phytoplankton Biomass near a Receding Ice-Edge in the Ross Sea

  • W. O. SmithJr.
  • D. M. Nelson

Summary

Ice-edge zones have been hypothesized to be major sites of primary production and energy transfer within the Southern Ocean, and large biomass accumulations of upper-trophic-level organisms (birds and mammals) occur in these zones. However, few data exist to determine if these ice-edge regions support elevated levels of phytoplankton and enhanced rates of primary production. During 2 cruises on the USCGC Glacier in January-February, 1983, the chlorophyll distribution was measured in different areas of the Ross Sea. Our primary study area was located off the coast of southern Victorialand (76° 30′ S) in a region of receding pack-ice. We occupied 34 stations in a 100 × 300 km area of variable ice concentration. In comparison to control stations and previous data, chlorophyll levels were high, averaging 4.08 ± 1.46 mg chl-a m−3 at the depth of the chlorophyll maximum in the water column, and 128.2 ± 91.7 mg m−2 when integrated from the surface to 150 m. High surface chlorophyll levels appeared to be highly correlated with a stable surface layer at the edge of the receding ice-pack. At stations outside of the ice-edge bloom, stability at the surface was reduced and chlorophyll concentrations were markedly lower. Water column stability appeared to be a major factor in the initiation and maintenance of ice-edge phytoplankton blooms, and the roles of these blooms in the overall estimates of biogenic production and energy flux of the Southern Ocean need to be re-evaluated.

Keywords

Southern Ocean Phytoplankton Biomass Chlorophyll Concentration Euphotic Zone Baleen Whale 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. O. SmithJr.
    • 1
  • D. M. Nelson
    • 2
  1. 1.Botany Department and Graduate Program in EcologyUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA
  2. 2.College of OceanographyOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA

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