Factors controlling the timing of the spring bloom in the Strait of Georgia estuary, British Columbia, Canada

K.D. Yin, P.J. Harrison, R.H. Goldblatt, Michael St. John, R.J. Beamish

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

We present a conceptual model to illustrate how wind events and the annual migration and grazing of the dominant copepod Neocalanus plumchrus interact and affect the development of the spring bloom. The model was supported by observations made during 1988, 1992, and 1993. For example, in 1992, an El Nino year, the annual freshet of the Fraser River and probably the spring bloom started 1 month earlier. The bloom was interrupted by a wind event in late March. A few days later, its full recovery was interrupted by the peak in zooplankton grazing, and ambient ammonium concentrations increased. In contrast, in 1988, the annual freshet started later (mid-April), and winds remained strong throughout the same period, hindering the development of the spring bloom. The spring bloom was further suppressed by large numbers of zooplankton during April, resulting in a prolonged spring bloom. These observations indicate that interannual variations in winds and the timing of the annual freshet determine the timing and duration of the spring bloom, which in turn, determine the matching of phytoplankton to zooplankton in the Strait of Georgia. The matching or mismatching bears significant implications for food availability for juvenile fish.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Volume54
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1985-1995
ISSN0706-652X
Publication statusPublished - 1997

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