Polar Biology

, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 409–422 | Cite as

Seasonal shifts in ice edge phytoplankton blooms in the Barents Sea related to the water column stability

  • V. H. Strass
  • E. -M. Nöthig
Original Paper

Abstract

The development of the phytoplankton bloom and its relation to water column stabilisation during the transition from early to high summer (of 1991) in the seasonally ice-covered zone of the Barents Sea were studied from a meridional transect of repeated hydrographic/biological stations. The water column stabilisation is described in detail with the aid of vertical profiles of the Brunt-Väisälä frequency squared (N2). The contributions of seasonal warming and ice melting to stabilisation are elucidated by determining the effects of temperature and salinity on N2. The spring bloom in 1991 migrated poleward from June to July by about 400 km, associated with the retreat of the ice edge. The spring bloom culminated with maximum chlorophyll concentrations in the mixed layer about 100–300 km north of the centre of the meltwater lens, at its northern edge, where the ice cover was still substantial. From the distribution of N2 it becomes obvious that the bloom starts at the very beginning of stabilisation, which results solely from the release of meltwater. The increase in temperature due to the seasonal warming does not contribute to the onset of vernal blooming; temperature starts to contribute to the stratification later, when the spring bloom has ceased due to the exhaustion of nutrients in the mixed layer. By that time a deep chlorophyll maximum has formed in the seasonal pycnocline, 20–30 m below the base of the mixed layer. The effect of the seasonal ice cover on the mean areal new primary production is discussed.

Keywords

Chlorophyll Mixed Layer Chlorophyll Concentration Phytoplankton Bloom Spring Bloom 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. H. Strass
    • 1
  • E. -M. Nöthig
    • 1
  1. 1.Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar- und MeeresforschungBremerhavenGermany

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