Navigation Links
Coccolithophore blooms in the southwest Atlantic
Date:10/21/2010

A study led by Dr Stuart Painter of the National Oceanography Centre helps explain the formation of huge phytoplankton blooms off the southeast coast of South America during the austral summer (December-January). The region supports the highly productive Patagonian Shelf marine ecosystem, which includes a globally important fishery.

Coccolithophores are key members of the marine phytoplankton community. They are abundant in the sunlit upper layer of the world's oceans, often forming vast blooms that can be seen from space.

"Coccolithophores are a complex group of plankton and in many areas of the World Ocean satellite-based observations provide the only information we have. We often have little direct knowledge of the environmental factors coincident with these blooms," explained Painter.

To understand the environmental factors controlling the development of coccolithophore blooms, Painter and his coauthors joined a cruise led by Dr William Balch of the Bigelow Laboratory (Maine, USA) and measured the salinity, chemistry and nutrient levels of the waters overlying the Patagonian Shelf and the shelf break, where the seafloor dips down to the deep seabed.

They also took measurements at the Brazil/Falklands Confluence to the northeast, where two major currents collide. These are the Brazil Current, which carries warm, saline subtropical waters southwards, and the Falklands Current, which brings cold, fresh and nutrient-rich water up from the sub-Antarctic region.

The continental shelf itself experiences strong tides and inputs from large rivers. And to complicate matters further, low-salinity water also enters the Patagonian Shelf region from the Pacific Ocean through the Magellan Strait in the south.

"The marine environment of the Patagonian Shelf region is well known for its complexity but what has been less clear until now is how this relates to the large blooms of coccolithophores in this region," said Painter.

He and his collaborators identified five distinct water masses, each having different characteristics, such as temperature and nutrient concentration. These water masses also varied in the amount of chlorophyll in their surface waters, indicating different levels of phytoplankton production.

During the research cruise, a large bloom of the globally ubiquitous coccolthophore species Emiliania huxleyi formed in the sub-Antarctic Shelf Water (SSW), north of the Falkland Islands. The bloom extended north along the shelf break and coincided with the distribution of reflective calcite detected from space, which was otherwise diffusely distributed. Calcite is a carbonate mineral and a common constituent of limestone. It also forms the microscopic plates 'coccoliths' that surround coccolithophores, possibly for protection.

Chemical and nutrient measurements confirmed that conditions within the SSW were especially conducive for coccolithophore bloom formation, with the right cocktail of nutrients and seawater temperature.

However, the distribution of the SSW is strongly influenced by the shelf break front, which is the focus of intense biological production. It can vary from 20 to 200 kilometres in width determining exactly where conditions are right for coccolithophore blooms.

"The complex interaction of large currents and different water masses clearly exerts strong controls over the position of coccolithophore blooms in this region,"said Painter.


'/>"/>

Contact: Dr. Rory Howlett
r.howlett@noc.soton.ac.uk
44-023-805-98490
National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (UK)
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Battling harmful algal blooms
2. New research to improve management of harmful algal blooms in Puget Sound
3. New research aims to unravel how phosphorus pollution drives toxic algal blooms in the Great Lakes
4. Critical record of Afghanistans natural heritage blooms again
5. Is iron from soil a factor in algal blooms?
6. New project to forecast toxic algal blooms on Pacific Northwest beaches
7. Nitrogen fixation and phytoplankton blooms in the southwest Indian Ocean
8. A thirst for blood sparks toxic algal blooms
9. Hot spot for toxic harmful algal blooms discovered off Washington coast
10. International experts weigh-in on harmful algal blooms
11. Alcohol consumers are becoming the norm, UT Southwestern analysis finds
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Coccolithophore blooms in the southwest Atlantic
(Date:6/15/2016)... June 15, 2016 Transparency ... titled "Gesture Recognition Market by Application Market - Global Industry Analysis ... 2024". According to the report, the  global gesture recognition ... 2015 and is estimated to grow at a ... by 2024.  Increasing application of gesture ...
(Date:6/7/2016)... , June 7, 2016  Syngrafii Inc. ... a business relationship that includes integrating Syngrafii,s patented ... branch project. This collaboration will result in greater ... the credit union, while maintaining existing document workflow ... http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160606/375871LOGO ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... YORK , June 2, 2016   The Weather ... is announcing Watson Ads, an industry-first capability in which consumers ... by being able to ask questions via voice or text ... Marketers have long sought ... the consumer, that can be personal, relevant and valuable; and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... operations for Amgen, will join the faculty of the University of North ... adjunct professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at UNC Kenan-Flagler, with a focus on ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... While the majority of commercial spectrophotometers ... 5000 and the 6000i models are higher end machines that use the more unconventional ... spectrophotometer’s light beam from the bottom of the cuvette holder. , FireflySci has ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT ... Ontario biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics ... development and commercialization of a portfolio of first-in-class ... Epigenetic targets such as WDR5 represent an exciting ... significantly in precision medicine for cancer patients. Substantial ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a university competition that asks ... systems and biotechnology, announced its winning teams at the ... York City . The teams, chosen ... MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater during the daylong summit. Keynote ... of architecture and design, and Suzanne Lee , ...
Breaking Biology Technology: