Postprint version. Published in Journal of Geophysical Research, Volume 117, January 25, 2012, pages 1-10.
An edited version of this paper was published by AGU. Copyright © 2012 American Geophysical Union. Further reproduction or electronic distribution is not permitted. The definitive version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2011JC007480.
Extensive AUVs surveys showed that during the development of upwelling, bioluminescent dinoflagellates from the northern part of the Monterey Bay, California (called the upwelling shadow area), were able to avoid advection by southward flowing currents along the entrance to the Bay, while non-bioluminescent phytoplankton were advected by currents. It is known that vertical swimming of dinoflagellates to deeper layers helps them avoid losses due to advection. In the present paper, we investigate if modeling dinoflagellates’ vertical swimming can explain the observed dinoflagellates’ ability to avoid advection during the upwelling development. The dynamics of a dinoflagellate population is modeled with the tracer model with introduced vertical swimming velocity. Three swimming behaviors are considered: sinking, swimming to the target depth and diel vertical migration. Velocities in all swimming cases are considered in the ranges of documented velocities for the observed dinoflagellates species during the upwelling development in the Monterey Bay. Our modeling confirmed that observed bioluminescent dinoflagellates’ avoidance of advection during the upwelling development can be explained by their vertical swimming ability. In the case of swimming with 20 m/day (which is half of observed maximum swimming velocity), around 40% of dinoflagellates population from the northern part of the Bay were advected along the entrance to the Bay in comparison to the case without swimming. This is in agreement with the ratio of around 45% of observed mean bioluminescence intensity at the entrance to the Bay to the observed mean intensity in the northern part of the Bay. This mechanism also helps explain the general persistence of dinoflagellates in this part of the coastline.