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Comparisons of Fronts with Other Boundaries at Sea

  • Eduardo Marcelo AchaEmail author
  • Alberto Piola
  • Oscar Iribarne
  • Hermes Mianzan
Chapter
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Environmental Science book series (BRIEFSENVIRONMENTAL)

Abstract

There are boundaries in the ocean which are not fronts, such as the pycnocline, the interface of water with the air, the sediments or the ice. These boundaries pose distinctive biotic and abiotic conditions and are the preferred living space for certain groups of organisms. Due to the gravitational stratification, vertical scales in the sea are highly compressed relative to horizontal scales, so pycnoclines, and the interfaces between water and sediments; ice; and the atmosphere are all nearly horizontal edges having much larger horizontal scales than typical fronts. Most of these interfaces are layers of greatly reduced flows, weakening plankton dispersion. Life tends to congregate at boundaries and such non-frontal interfaces are places of locally elevated biological activity. However, non-frontal interfaces lack mechanisms that persistently bring nutrients to promote phytoplankton production. Fronts concentrate more biological productivity in narrower places, and their dynamics appear as more complex, characterized by intense three dimensional flows. Such complexity could explain the wider range of ecological properties of fronts compared to other interfaces.

Keywords

Thermocline Halocline Marine interfaces Abiotic conditions Plankton concentration Benthic boundary layer 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eduardo Marcelo Acha
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Alberto Piola
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  • Oscar Iribarne
    • 2
  • Hermes Mianzan
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo Pesquero (INIDEP)Proyecto Ecología PesqueraMar del PlataArgentina
  2. 2.Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras (IIMyC)Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas-Universidad Nacional de Mar del PlataMar del PlataArgentina
  3. 3.Departamento OceanografíaServício de Hídrografia NavalBuenos AiresArgentina
  4. 4.Departamento de Ciencias de la Atmósfera y los Océanos, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y NaturalesUniversidad de Buenos AiresBuenos AiresArgentina
  5. 5.Instituto Franco-Argentino Sobre Estudios del Clima y sus ImpactosBuenos AiresArgentina
  6. 6.Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y TécnicasBuenos AiresArgentina

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