A "horizontal Sverdrup mechanism" may control the spring bloom around small oceanic islands and over banks

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Abstract

One of the most basic paradigms in marine ecology is the "Sverdrup mechanism", where the spring bloom is retarded if the surface mixed layer is too deep, due to the algae being mixed vertically out of the euphotic layer. A similar mechanism may operate in vertically homogeneous water over a small shallow area, surrounded by deep waters, if the horizontal exchange is sufficiently intense. In systems with inter-annual variations in the horizontal exchange rate, this may induce inter-annual variations in the timing and intensity of the spring bloom. A numerical primary production model with circular symmetry and prescribed horizontal exchange rate is developed. Using the Faroe Shelf as an example, the model and observations show that the timing and intensity of the spring bloom in the shallow parts of the system may be critically dependent upon the rate of the horizontal exchange. Numerical experiments confirm that the effect of horizontal exchange on the spring bloom is less pronounced for banks than for shelf systems around islands of similar scales, and that the effect increases in importance as the horizontal scale is reduced.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)352-362
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Marine Systems
Volume56
Issue number3-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2005

Keywords

  • Primary production
  • Climate
  • Seafloor topography
  • Horizontal exchange
  • Zooplankton
  • Faroe Shelf

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