Phenologically distinct phytoplankton regions on the Faroe Shelf: identified by satellite data, in-situ observations and model

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Abstract

Marked inter-annual fluctuations in the primary production on the Faroe shelf propagate to higher trophic levels and influence commercial fish stocks. This has previously been demonstrated based on weekly chlorophyll samples from a coastal station, dating back to 1997.
However, the spatial extent, for which the coastal samples are representative, has not been well defined, and potential bio-geographical segregations of the shelf have not been considered. By integrating 18 years of chlorophyll satellite data, supplemented by in-situ, model, and meteorological reanalysis data, we identify three regions with unique characteristics with regards to surface chlorophyll and vertical structure - the Central Shelf, the Outer Shelf and the Eastern Banks. The observed difference in timing of the spring bloom in these regions helps explain different spawning patterns of important fish stocks, and the spatial division of the Faroe Shelf should be considered when studying biology and hydrography in these waters.
A positive correlation between annual means on the outer Faroe Shelf and parts of the outer northwest Scottish Shelf indicates similarities between these neighbouring regions.
We suggest that this similarity arises from the commonality in nutrient composition of the water masses shared by these neighbouring regions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-110
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Marine Systems
Volume169
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2017

Keywords

  • Phytoplankton phenology
  • Ocean colour
  • Faroe Shelf
  • Distinct regions

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