Scientia Marina, Vol 77, No S1 (2013)

Seasonal evolution of cholorophyll-a and cyanobacteria (Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus) on the northeast continental shelf of the Gulf of Cádiz: relation to thermohaline and nutrients fields

Eleonora Anfuso
Departamento de Química Física, Facultad de Ciencias del Mar y Ambientales, Universidad de Cádiz , Spain

Bibiana Debelius
Departamento de Química Física, Facultad de Ciencias del Mar y Ambientales, Universidad de Cádiz , Spain

Carmen G. Castro
Departamento de Oceanografía, Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas, CSIC , Spain

Rocio Ponce
Departamento de Química Física, Facultad de Ciencias del Mar y Ambientales, Universidad de Cádiz , Spain

Jesus M. Forja
Departamento de Química Física, Facultad de Ciencias del Mar y Ambientales, Universidad de Cádiz , Spain

Luis M. Lubian
Instituto de Ciencias Marinas de Andalucia, CSIC , Spain


The seasonal evolution of nutrients, chlorophyll-a (chl-a) and cyanobacteria (Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus) on the northeast continental shelf of the Gulf of Cádiz was observed during four cruises in summer and autumn 2006 and winter and spring 2007. Samples were collected to determine the distribution of chl-a and cyanobacteria abundance and to analyse their coupling with thermohaline and chemical properties in the gulf region. Surface nutrient distributions showed clear seasonal variability. Maximum levels were recorded for the entire study region during winter due to winter mixing and the strong influence of the Guadalquivir River and Bay of Cádiz outflow. Maximum chl-a levels were reached during spring for the entire region and for the entire water column. Minimum values of chl-a were observed during summer, under prevailing oligotrophic conditions, and winter when in spite of relatively high nutrient concentrations, phytoplankton growth was probably light-limited. The distribution of both cyanobacteria populations also varied seasonally in association with the oceanographic conditions. Prochlorococcus maximum cell abundance was observed at the sea surface during the four cruises, except in the northern region during summer. However, Synechococcus showed a maximum concentration at the sea surface in autumn and winter and at the subsurface chlorophyll maximum in autumn and spring.


chlorophyll-a; cyanobacteria; seasonal evolution; Guadalquivir River; Gulf of Cádiz

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