Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Biological Sciences


Biological Sciences


Mark Moline


Coastal topography and more specifically, the impact of local hydrography can significantly influence phytoplankton dynamics along the California coast. In San Luis Obispo Bay California, the local hydrography is influenced by the presence of a lee and proposed upwelling shadow in the northwest corner of the bay. These conditions allow for periods of unperturbed phytoplankton growth creating phytoplankton incubation areas. Phytoplankton dynamics including accumulation, advection, and composition were examined in San Luis Obispo Bay California from January to June 2004 using all the primary techniques of ocean monitoring encompassed in the coastal module of the Global Ocean Observing System. These techniques included remote sensing, autonomous sensing, discrete sampling and laboratory analysis. Results demonstrated that composition in the bay followed the typical seasonal shifts seen along the California coast. These findings reveal a community that was primarily dominated by dinoflagellates during the winter months giving way to a diatom dominated community in the spring and summer as upwelling season reached the coast. The model of cyclic phytoplankton accumulation and advection was shown to be valid and driven by both coastal upwelling as well as poleward displacement during periods of relaxation. In addition, due to presence of a stratified subsurface chlorophyll layer, the depth component was shown to be vital when attempting to access and sample phytoplankton communities in the bay.

Included in

Oceanography Commons