Scientia Marina, Vol 69, No S1 (2005)

Physical forcing and phytoplankton distributions

Trevor Platt
Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Canada

Heather Bouman
Oceanography Department, Dalhousie University, Canada

Emmanuel Devred
Oceanography Department, Dalhousie University, Canada

César Fuentes-Yaco
Bedford Institute of Oceanography - Oceanography Department, Dalhousie University, Canada

Shubha Sathyendranath
Oceanography Department, Dalhousie University, Canada


At the global and regional scales, the distribution and abundance of marine phytoplankton are under the control of physical forcing. Moreover, the community structure and the size structure of phytoplankton assemblages also appear to be under physical control. Areas of the ocean with common physical forcing (ecological provinces) may be expected to have phytoplankton communities that respond in a similar fashion to changes in local forcing, and with ecophysiological rate parameters that are predictable from local environmental conditions. In modelling the marine ecosystem, relevant parameters may be assigned according to a partition into ecological provinces. To the extent that physical forcing of the ocean is not constant within or between years, the boundaries of the provinces should be considered as dynamic. The dynamics and the associated changes in taxa can be revealed by remote sensing.


phytoplankton; pigments; remote sensing; ocean colour; diatoms; hurricane; biogeochemical provinces

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Copyright (c) 2005 Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)

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