Coccolithophore species as indicators of surface oceanographic conditions in the vicinity of Azores islands

Silva, A, Brotas, V, Valente, A, Sa, C, Diniz, T, Patarra, RF, Álvaro, NV and Neto, AI 2013 Coccolithophore species as indicators of surface oceanographic conditions in the vicinity of Azores islands. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 118. 50-59.

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During summer 2008 and spring 2009, surface oceanographic surveys were carried out around three islands of the Azores archipelago (Terceira, Sao Miguel and Santa Maria) to assess the phytoplankton distribution and associated physico-chemical processes. The Azores archipelago is a major feature in the biogeochemical North Atlantic Subtropical Gyre (NAST) province although its influence on the productivity of the surrounding ocean is poorly known. Surface phytoplankton was studied by microscopy and HPLC (High Precision Liquid Chromatography). The mean values for biomass proxy Chlorophyll a (Chla) ranged from 0.04 to 0.55 mu g L-1 (Chla maximum = 0.86 mu g L-1) and coccolithophores were the most abundant group, followed by small flagellates, Cyanobacteria, diatoms and dinoflagellates being the least abundant group. The distribution of phytoplankton and coccolithophore species in particular presented seasonal differences and was consistent with the nearshore influence of warm subtropical waters from the south Azores current and colder subpolar waters from the north. The satellite-derived circulation patterns showed southward cold water intrusions off Terceira and northward warm water intrusions off Santa Maria. The warmer waters signal was confirmed by the subtropical coccolithophore assemblage, being Discosphaera tubifera a constant presence under these conditions. The regions of enhanced biomass, either resulting from northern cooler waters or from island induced processes, were characterized by the presence of Emiliania huxleyi. Diatoms and dinoflagellates indicated coastal and regional processes of nutrient enrichment and areas of physical stability, respectively.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Subjects: Earth Observation - Remote Sensing
Marine Sciences
Divisions: Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Science Areas > Marine Life Support Systems (expired)
Depositing User: Mrs Julia Crocker
Date made live: 27 Feb 2014 17:33
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2017 16:10

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