Scientia Marina, Vol 80, No S1 (2016)

The biogeochemistry of nutrients, dissolved oxygen and chlorophyll a in the Catalan Sea (NW Mediterranean Sea)

Mariona Segura-Noguera
Department of Marine Biology and Oceanography, Institut de Ciències del Mar, CSIC - ChELSI Institute, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, The University of Sheffield , Spain

Antoni Cruzado
Department of Aquatic Biogeochemistry, Centre d’Estudis Avançats de Blanes, CSIC - , Spain

Dolors Blasco
Department of Marine Biology and Oceanography, Institut de Ciències del Mar, CSIC , Spain


Reference depth profiles of dissolved inorganic nutrients, dissolved oxygen and chlorophyll a are described for the Catalan Sea using quality controlled data. Phosphate, nitrate and silicate show typical nutrient profiles, with nutriclines at different depths. Maximums of nitrite, dissolved oxygen and occasionally ammonium are found within the photic zone, close to the deep chlorophyll maximum. In intermediate waters we found a minimum of dissolved oxygen coincident with maximum concentrations of phosphate and nitrate. Ammonium concentration is unexpectedly high in the mesopelagic zone, where there are still measurable nitrite concentrations. The origin of such high ammonium and nitrite concentrations remains unclear. We also identify and describe anomalous data and profiles resulting from eutrophication, western Mediterranean Deep Water formation and dense shelf water cascading. The N:P ratio in deep waters is 22.4, which indicates P limitation relative to the Redfield ratio. However, the N:P ratio above the deep chlorophyll maximum in stratified surface waters is < 4 (< 8 including ammonium). The depth profiles of key biogeochemical variables described in this study will be a useful reference for future studies in the Catalan Sea (NW Mediterranean Sea) in order to validate data sampled in this area, to identify anomalous processes, and to study the evolution of the ecosystem following the undergoing global change.


dissolved inorganic nutrients; dissolved oxygen; chlorophyll a; stoichiometry; P limitation; NW Mediterranean Sea; Catalan Sea

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