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The island mass effect: a study of wind-driven nutrient upwelling around reef islands

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Abstract

Using the method of process-oriented modelling, this study explores wind-driven upwelling features around reef islands of the tropical Pacific Ocean. The three-dimensional hydrodynamic model is coupled to a nutrient-phytoplankton (NP) model to simulate the creation of phytoplankton blooms initiated by the wind-driven upwelling of nutrients into the euphotic zone. Findings demonstrate that short-lived wind events of 2–5 days in duration, which are typical of tropical regions, can lead to significant phytoplankton blooms near reef islands. This finding agrees with observational evidence. Comparison studies reveal that the total phytoplankton production increases for higher wind speeds, longer durations of wind events and larger reef islands, and that it decreases with stronger static stability of the pycnocline. Overall, our findings indicate that wind-driven nutrient upwelling supports the ecosystem functioning around larger tropical reef islands.

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Data availability

This work is purely theoretical and does not include new data collection. The model code used is available from the corresponding author.

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Acknowledgements

This research has been supported by an internal research grant from the Marine and Coastal Research Consortium of the College of Science and Engineering, Flinders University. Wind data are data from Ifremer 6-hourly Long Time Series Satellite Surface Wind Analyses, available at http://apdrc.soest.hawaii.edu/data/data.php. Model codes used in this research are available from the corresponding author (jochen.kaempf@flinders.edu.au). Maps were produced with Scilab (https://www.scilab.org/), line graphs with Microsoft Excel.

Funding

This research has been supported by an internal research grant from the Marine and Coastal Research Consortium of the College of Science and Engineering, Flinders University.

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Contributions

All authors contributed to the study conception and design. JK developed the computer models used in the study. All authors contributed to the analysis and interpretation of model results. In addition, AS and CC conducted comprehensive literature reviews of the island mass effect and ecological features associated with atoll reefs. The first draft of the manuscript was written by JK and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Jochen Kämpf.

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None of the authors of this paper has financial or nonfinancial interests that are directly or indirectly related to the work submitted for publication.

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Kämpf, J., Möller, L., Baring, R. et al. The island mass effect: a study of wind-driven nutrient upwelling around reef islands. J Oceanogr 79, 161–174 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10872-022-00673-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10872-022-00673-2

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