Within the Palmer Long Term Ecological Research Program (PAL-LTER), a suite of environmental data sets were collected at a nearshore station throughout the 1991/92 austral summer. Seasonal changes are presented in the context of phytoplankton community ecology. Subseasonal fluctuations in sea-ice coverage, freshwater inputs, as well as wind driven and advective processes disrupting stratified surface waters, appeared to be the major driving forces affecting the timing, duration and demise of local phytoplankton blooms. During a large diatom-dominated bloom (~30 mg chl a m-3), macronutrients were depleted to detection limits (NO3--3, PO4-3< 0.03 mmol m-3) and significant shifts in nutrient ratios were observed. Phytoplankton populations were light limited below ~5 m during the bloom, resulting from self-shading. The depth of light limitation deepened after the bloom was physically disrupted and removed from the region by strong advective processes.



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