Seasonal variation in remotely-sensed phytoplankton size structure around Southern Africa

Lamont, T, Brewin, RJW and Barlow, RG 2018 Seasonal variation in remotely-sensed phytoplankton size structure around Southern Africa. Remote Sensing of Environment, 204. 617-631.

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The three-component model of Brewin et al. (2010) computes fractional contributions of three phytoplankton size classes (micro- (> 20μm), nano- (2–20μm), picophytoplankton (< 2μm)) to the overall chlorophyll a concentration (Chla). Using insitupigment data,model coefficients wereadjusted forapplication tothesouthern African marine region. The refined model was applied to seasonal and monthly climatologies of MODIS Aqua Chla around Southern Africa. Chla> 1 mgm−3 was limited to shelf regions along the coasts of Southern Africa and Madagascar, while values< 0.1 mg−3 were found over most of the open ocean between the equator and 38°S during austral summer and autumn. In winter and spring, low values (<0.1 mgm−3) were restricted to smaller regions within subtropical gyres, while values up to 0.7 mg m−3 extended over a much greater area of the open ocean. Shelf regions in the northern (NB) and southern Benguela (SB), Agulhas Bank (AB), Agulhas region (AR), and Mozambique Channel (MC) all showed similar seasonal cycles of size structure. On average, microphytoplankton comprised> 50% of the total Chla in these regions with little change throughout the year. The AR shelf differed, with picophytoplankton dominating in summer, and micro- and nanophytoplankton the rest of the year. In the open ocean domains of the NB, SB, and AB regions, nanophytoplankton dominated for most of the year, with picophytoplankton being more prevalent during summer and autumn. In contrast, in the AR open ocean, nanophytoplankton were dominant only during winter and early spring, whereas picophytoplankton dominated throughout the year in the MC open ocean. The refined model characterised previously unknown spatial and temporal changes in size structure in various ecosystems around Southern Africa.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Subjects: Biology
Earth Observation - Remote Sensing
Earth Sciences
Marine Sciences
Divisions: Plymouth Marine Laboratory > National Capability categories > National Centre for Earth Observation
Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Science Areas > Earth Observation Science and Applications
Depositing User: Robert Brewin
Date made live: 10 Mar 2018 11:29
Last Modified: 25 Apr 2020 09:58

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