Subsurface phytoplankton blooms fuel pelagic production in the North Sea

Kathrine Richardson, Andre Visser, Flemming Pedersen

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The seasonal phytoplankton biomass distribution pattern in stratified temperate marine waters is traditionally depicted as consisting of spring and autumn blooms. The energy source supporting pelagic summer production is believed to be the spring bloom. However, the spring bloom disappears relatively quickly from the water column and a large proportion of the material sedimenting to the bottom following the spring bloom is often comprised of intact phytoplankton cells. Thus, it is easy to argue that the spring bloom is fueling the energy demands of the benthos, but more difficult to argue convincingly that energy fixed during the spring bloom is fueling the pelagic production occurring during summer months. We argue here that periodic phytoplankton blooms are occurring during the summer in the North Sea at depths of >25 m and that the accumulated new production [sensu (Dugdale and Goering, Limnol. Oceanogr., 12, 196-206, 1967)] occurring in these blooms may be greater than that occurring in the spring bloom in the same regions. Thus, such blooms may explain apparent discrepancies in production yields between different temperate marine systems
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Plankton Research
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1663-1671
Publication statusPublished - 2000


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