Phytoplankton biomass and production during late austral spring (1991) and summer (1993) in the Bransfield Strait
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Phytoplankton biomass and productivity were measured during two cruises in the Bransfield Strait in December 1991 (D91) and January/February 1993 (J93). Strong seasonal variability in productivity values was observed due to differences in the physiological response of phytoplankton. However, although the photosynthetic capacity of phytoplankton was markedly lower in D91 [P m B =0.61 ± 0.25 mg C (mg Chla)−1 h−1] than in J93 [P m B =2.18 ± 0.91 mg C (mg Chla)−1 h−1], average water column chlorophyll values in different areas of the strait were approximately similar in D91 (49–78 mg Chla m−2) and J93 (22–76 mg Chla m−2). The spatial distribution of chlorophyll was patchy and generally associated with the influence of the different water masses that meet together in the Bransfield Strait. No correlation was found between the mixed layer depth and either the integrated chlorophyll or the productivity. Our results suggest that major phytoplankton blooms in the Bransfield Strait are advected from the nearby Gerlache Strait or Bellingshausen Sea following the main eastward surface currents.
KeywordsChlorophyll Phytoplankton Mixed Layer Water Masse Phytoplankton Biomass
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